posted on Feb, 26 2004 @ 07:17 AM
Ex International development secretary Clare Short has accused the British Government of bugging the offices of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during
the buildup to the Iraq war. The comments come hot on the heels of yesterday’s collapse of the trail of Katharine Gun, accused of leaking a secret
e-mail from US spies supposedly requesting British help in bugging other UN delegates during the same period. Tony Blair has described the comments as
'irresponsible' and claimed any actions taken were within the boundaries of international law. The U.N however has claimed any such actions, if
true, would be illegal.
The U.S has been widely accused of bugging the U.N offices of Allies and others during tense negotiations before the war.
Ms Short's comments came the day after the dramatic collapse of the trial of GCHQ whistle-blower Katharine Gun.
She had been accused of leaking a secret e-mail from US spies apparently requesting British help in bugging UN delegates head of the Iraq invasion.
The government has denied claims the move to drop the case was politically motivated.
During an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme Ms Short said British spies were involved in bugging Mr Annan's office in the run up to war
"The UK in this time was also getting spies on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on," she said.
"These things are done and in the case of Kofi's office, it was being done for some time."
Asked to confirm if British spies were instructed to carry out operations within the UN on people like Mr Annan, she said: "Yes, absolutely."
Asked if Britain was involved in this, she replied; "Well I know - I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.
"In fact, I have had conversations with Kofi in the run up to the war thinking 'oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what
he and I are saying'."
Quizzed about whether she knew about this when she was in government, Ms Short responded: "Absolutely. I read some of the transcripts of the accounts
of his conversations."
A Downing Street spokesman said in a statement: "We never comment on intelligence matters. Our intelligence and security agencies act in accordance
with national and international law at all times."
But a UN representative in Europe said any spying on Mr Annan would be illegal.
Another bombshell for Blair. The conspiracy factors of this war are coming to light fast. I can the see the U.S distancing themselves from this pretty
quickly. Blair’s going to be over the coals for this one for quite some time.
[Edited on 26-2-2004 by kegs]
[Edited on 26-2-2004 by Nerdling]