Shayler suspects TV repair man of bugging his home

Author: By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent

The former MI5 officer David Shayler fears he has been electronically bugged by secret service agents and is being watched by them.

Mr Shayler, who is facing trial for breaching the Official Secrets Act, suspects a man who came to repair his television planted an MI5 bug at his brother’s home, where he has been staying since returning to England from Paris.

“I believe the phone is tapped and the flat is bugged,” he said yesterday. “I expect I am being watched.”

Mr Shayler said the repair man came to his brother’s home shortly before he returned from Paris. “It was very strange,” he said. “He was a television repair man but he did not know how to fix the television.”

The former intelligence officer went into hiding in Paris after going public with accusations three years ago that MI6 plotted to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan president.

He said the “human cost” of his decision and the invasion of his personal privacy had been terrible. His partner, Annie Machon, also a former M15 officer, said: “We had to leave the country. We had to leave our friends and family.

“We had to go on the run, our flat in London was smashed up unnecessarily. At first I think they hoped that we would just rot in exile.”

Mr Shayler said that if information was being acquired clandestinely by MI5, including tapes of conversations with his lawyers, it could affect the outcome of his case. His lawyers were likely to seek clarification from the Home Secretary about whether approval was given for his home to be bugged.

The former spy, speaking yesterday at an unofficial Lab-our conference fringe meeting called David Shayler and Friends – Uncensored, said the title was inappropriate. “It is anything but uncensored,” he said. “My words may be listened to by a special branch officer or by an agent in this audience.”

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