Police swoop on civil servant suspected of Washington files leak

EXCLUSIVE: Police swoop on civil servant suspected of Washington files leak – 15 months after Mail on Sunday bombshell brought ambassador down

  • Civil servant was arrested on suspicion of leaking explosive diplomatic cables 
  • Counter terrorist officers from the Met swooped on the official’s flat on Tuesday 
  • The civil servant is believed to work at the Department for International Trade 

A civil servant has been arrested on suspicion of leaking explosive diplomatic cables written by Britain’s former US ambassador, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Counter terrorist officers from the Metropolitan Police swooped on the official’s flat in Westminster in a dramatic dawn raid on Tuesday. 

The civil servant, who is believed to work at the Department for International Trade (DIT), was arrested on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in public office.

It is understood he was detained at a police station in London for more than 30 hours before being released on bail. Officers are believed to have seized a laptop computer and his passport.

The arrest, which will send shockwaves through Whitehall, comes 15 months after this newspaper disclosed a string of bombshell cables and memos written by former US ambassador Lord Darroch. 

The arrest comes 15 months after the Mail on Sunday disclosed a string of bombshell cables and memos written by former US ambassador Lord Darroch (pictured)

In them, he described Donald Trump as ‘inept’, ‘insecure’ and ‘incompetent’ and warned that the President’s career could end in ‘disgrace’. 

The story made headlines around the world and prompted Mr Trump to brand Lord Darroch, then Sir Kim, a ‘stupid guy’ and ‘pompous fool’.

Darroch resigned three days later when Boris Johnson refused to back him during a televised Tory leadership debate.

The latest development came as Lord Darroch was accused last week of giving sensitive information to an American TV reporter with whom he was having an alleged affair. It is understood they firmly deny the claims.

The arrested official is believed to have been suspended on full pay. The DIT has begun its own internal leak inquiry. 

The involvement of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit in the hunt for the mole is understood to have followed an independent assessment by the police and Crown Prosecution Service of whether the Official Secrets Act had potentially been breached. 

GCHQ, the Government spy agency, is also thought to have been involved.

The civil servant, who is believed to work at the Department for International Trade (DIT), was arrested on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in public office. Pictured: Stock image

Journalist Steven Edginton (pictured) later revealed he had been given the diplomatic messages by a ‘trusted source’ while investigating how the Civil Service was preparing for Brexit

A fortnight after the content of the Foreign Office cables was published, journalist Steven Edginton came forward to reveal that he had been given the diplomatic messages by a ‘trusted source’ while investigating how the Civil Service was preparing for Brexit.

While the leaked cables proved hugely embarrassing for Lord Darroch, they did not contain any state secrets. 

Asked about it at the time, Mr Johnson defended the freedom of the media to ‘bring new and interesting facts into the public domain’, adding: ‘It is embarrassing, but it is not a threat to national security.’ 

But the so-called Washington Files revelations prompted a chilling threat by the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu that publishing the contents of the documents could be ‘a criminal matter’. 

Unbowed, the MoS published further explosive claims that Mr Trump had abandoned the Iran nuclear deal to spite his predecessor Barack Obama.

Last night, a Government source confirmed a person had been arrested in connection with the leak inquiry.

Source: Read Full Article