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CNN Today

Former British Spy Returns to Face Charges of National Security Violations

Aired August 21, 2000 - 2:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A former British spy is back home today where he faces charges of violating national security. David Shayler was arrested after arriving from France, where he had been living in exile. Shayler is accused of disclosing secrets about the MI5, Britain's internal security agency.

We get the story from ITN's Kevin Dunn.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN DUNN, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): Boarding the ferry at Calais, David Shayler and his partner, Annie, say good-bye to three years of exile in France. The former MI5 man is returning to face charges for breaking the Officials Secrets Act. He alleges the security services colluded in a plot to kill the Libyan leader Col. Qadhafi, and mishandled information about IRA bombing plans.

He told me what he wants is vindication.

DAVID SHAYLER, FMR. MI5 OFFICER: Well, I think it is all up for grabs now. If the government had taken my evidence three years ago, it all could have been dealt with quite quietly. The fact that it has taken three years, and they have misled the people and lied to the people means there has to be full-scale reform of the intelligence services, and that will happen.

DUNN (on camera): David Shayler's returning to England more determined than ever to pursue his campaign for greater accountable in the security services, and he's determined to make mischief for the Labor government, threatening to sue Robin Cook, and to stand against Tony Blair at the next election.

(voice-over): But some close to the security service say Shayler should be made an example of.

RUPERT ALLASON, ESPIONAGE WRITER: I think that there is a long- term problem about what to do with David Shayler and to deter him from making disclosures in the future, and of course to send a message to colleagues, to other people, who have access to very sensitive information, inside and outside government, are they going to capitalize on that when they are sacked?

DUNN: Once on English soil, Shayler was formally arrested by the Special Branch and charged with two offenses under the Official Secrets Act, but not in connection with the alleged Qadhafi plot. He was later released on bail.

I feel good to be back in my own country. I feel good to be free again. Shayler will make his first court appearance on Thursday. Whether his case eventually goes to a full trial remains to be seen.

Kevin Dunn, ITN, central London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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