Report: MI6 chief discussed death probe

April 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM
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LONDON, April 23 (UPI) -- The head of Britain's MI6 spy agency sought to narrow the focus of a police probe into the death of one of its code breakers, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Secret Intelligence Service chief John Sawers met secretly with Paul Stephenson, then head of the Metropolitan Police, to discuss how Scotland Yard would proceed in investigating the death of Gareth Williams, whose body was found in a locked bag in his Pimlico apartment in August 2010. Williams, 31, worked on breaking codes for both MI6 and the U.S. National Security Agency.

Sources told the Telegraph Sawers sought assurances from Stephenson detectives would not push into sensitive national security areas.

"SIS wanted to make sure that the Met didn't stray too far into the question of what Gareth Williams' job entailed," an intelligence source told the Telegraph. "They did not want any potential leaks over the nature of his work for the NSA, GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters] or MI6."

The Telegraph said the nature of the meeting between Sawers and Stephenson raises concern about the independence of the police investigation and whether there was a coverup.

A full inquest into Williams' death is to begin this week in Westminster Coroner's Court.

The newspaper said it has learned the U.S. State Department asked MI6 to ensure no details of Williams' work should come out at the inquest.

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