10 February 2001. Thanks to PF.


Source: http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm47/4764/4764.pdf (432KB)

[65 pages.]

Intelligence and Security
Committee

The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report

Chairman:
The Rt Hon Tom King CH MP

Presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister
by Command of Her Majesty
JUNE 2000

Cm 4764                                                                                                           £8.95


[To be published as Command 4764 by The Stationery Office Price £8.95]

Intelligence and Security
Committee

The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report

Chairman:
The Rt Hon Tom King CH MP


Crown Copyright 2000

The text in this document may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. The source of the material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title of the document must be included when being reproduced as part of another publication or service.

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From the Rt. Hon. Tom King, CH, MP

INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE
70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS

ISC 0148/2000

The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP
Prime Minister and Minister for the Civil Service
No. 10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

20 April 2000

Dear Prime Minister,

On 13 September 1999 you and the Home Secretary invited the Intelligence and Security Committee to examine the policies and procedures adopted by the Security and Intelligence Agencies for the handling of information supplied by Mr. Mitrokhin. I enclose the Committee's Report into this matter.

The Committee has copied both this letter and the Report to the Home and Foreign Secretaries.

[Salutation and signature]

TOM KING


INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

The Rt. Hon. Tom King, CH, MP (Chairman)

The Rt. Hon. Lord Archer of Sandwell, QC

The Rt. Hon. Alan Beith, MP

The Rt. Hon. Barry Jones, MP

Mr. Kevin Barron, MP

                 Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours, MP

Mr. Michael Mates, MP

Mr. Allan Rogers, MP

Ms Rosie Winterton, MP


INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

Report into the Security and Intelligence Agencies'
handling of the information provided
by Mr Mitrokhin

Contents

Introduction
Report Structure
Acknowledgement
How Mr Mitrokhin reached the UK
What happened next
Summary of key events

Prosecution of Spies

Mrs Melita Norwood - HOLA
Mr John Symonds - SCOT
Recent Changes to the arrangements

Publication Method and Handling

Why was The Mitrokhin Archive published?
Why was Professor Andrew chosen?
How was the publication project managed?

Ministerial and Senior Official Oversight

Liaison
Briefing the ISC

Conclusions and Recommendations

Annexes

List of Annexes
Annex A - Home Secretary's Statement
Annex B - ISC Questionnaire
Annex C - Home Secretary's Letter
Annex D - Witnesses
Annex E - Details of Events
Annex F - What happened in the SIS
Annex G - What happened in the Security Service
Annex H - Security Service Procedures for Handling Investigative Leads
Annex I - Standard practice for dissemination of information about investigations in the Security Service
Annex J - Security Service Assessment of Mrs Norwood



THE MITROKHIN INQUIRY REPORT

INTRODUCTION

1. On Monday 13 September 1999, the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, after consultation with the Prime Minister, invited the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to conduct an inquiry into the intelligence and security agencies' handling of the information provided by Mr Mitrokhin (Annex A). The ISC's Chairman, the Rt. Hon. Tom King C.H., MP, on behalf of the Committee, accepted the Home Secretary's invitation on the same day.

2. This invitation followed the Times newspaper's publication on Saturday 11 September 1999 of a serialisation of "The Mitrokhin Archive" written by Mr Vasili Mitrokhin and Professor Christopher Andrew. The Mitrokhin Archive was based on the secret notes that Mr Mitrokhin had produced as chief archivist of the KGB records, and cover the period 1917 to 1984. This was the first public disclosure that Mr Mitrokhin and his material existed and that there were Soviet spies in the UK that had never been caught and prosecuted.

3. The paper's front-page story revealed the identity of a Soviet atom spy who had not been prosecuted by the authorities, Mrs Melita Norwood, code-named HOLA. She had actively spied for the Soviets in the post war period and continued even after the organisation that employed her stopped doing classified work for the UK Government and her security clearances were not renewed. She had remained in contact with the KGB until her retirement. The article also identified John Symonds, code-named SCOT, as another KGB agent who had never been prosecuted by the UK for espionage.

4. The Mitrokhin Archive was being serialised in the Times prior to its formal publication on 20 September and it also formed the basis of part of a BBC series by the journalist David Rose. The BBC series, and articles in the press, also identified other "spies" who had never been prosecuted by the UK authorities but had been identified in the records of the former East German Secret Police, the Stasi.

5. This burst of publicity about hitherto unknown matters gave rise to considerable public concern. These focused primarily on:

a. The failure to prosecute Mrs Norwood and other spies;

b. The lack of knowledge about seemingly highly significant matters expressed by former and present Ministers; and

c. The method of publication.

6. On 16 September 1999 the ISC sent a questionnaire (Annex B) to the SIS, Security Service, Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cabinet Office/No. 10 and the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers.

7. The Home Secretary wrote to the ISC Chairman on 8 October establishing the inquiry's terms of reference (Annex C). During the Home Secretary's statement to the House on 21 October 1999, the ISC Chairman and Committee members stressed the need for access to papers, including advice to Ministers, to allow them to conduct a thorough inquiry. Although there was some delay in reaching agreement about the papers, the request was eventually met in full.

8. In the event the Committee received the responses to the whole questionnaire on 16 November, although no papers were included. On 18 November the Clerk to the ISC requested copies of relevant papers, which were given to the Committee in separate bundles - the last set was delivered on 7 December 1999. The Committee also took oral and written evidence from a number of witnesses. A list of witnesses can be found at Annex D.

Report Structure

9. This Report covers the three key concerns identified by the Committee. There is also a brief summary of key events for reference. The Report is supported by a number of annexes, which contain summaries of the detailed evidence given to the Committee during the inquiry; it contains a brief section on how Mr Mitrokhin brought his valuable material to the UK, and it pays tribute to the courage and commitment of Mr Mitrokhin who worked at great personal risk to ensure that the work of the KGB and its predecessors was exposed to the world.

10. Turning to the Annexes:

a. Annex A is the Home Secretary's statement on 13 September 1999.

b. Annex B is the questionnaire the Committee sent to Departments and Agencies at the start of the inquiry.

c. Annex C is the letter from the Home Secretary establishing the Government's terms of reference for the inquiry.

d. Annex D is the list of witnesses.

e. Annex E is a complete summary of events in the handling of the Mr Mitrokhin's material by the Agencies and Departments, supported by extracts from submissions, meeting records and oral evidence.

f. Annex F covers the handling of Mr Mitrokhin's material by the SIS.

g. Annexes G and H describe the way the Security Service handled the information from Mr Mitrokhin's material and the formal procedure for handling such material.

h. Annex I describes the current procedure within the Security Service for informing Ministers and senior officials about espionage cases.

i. Annex J outlines the Security Service assessment of Mrs Norwood activities as a spy.

Acknowledgement

11. The Committee, during the course of the inquiry, had the opportunity to meet Vasili Mitrokhin. The Committee believes that he is a man of remarkable commitment and courage, who risked imprisonment or death in his determination that the truth should be told about the real nature of the KGB and their activities, which he believed were betraying the interests of his own country and people. He succeeded in this, and we wish to record formally our admiration for his achievement. The Committee believes that the poor media handling of the publication of The Mitrokhin Archive, which allowed the emphasis to fall on the UK spies, detracted from the brave work of Mr Mitrokhin and the importance of the revelations about the KGB's work he wanted to expose. We are aware that the Western Intelligence communities are extremely grateful for Mr Mitrokhin's material, which has shown the degree to which the KGB influenced and penetrated official organisations. Historians also find The Mitrokhin Archive of tremendous value, as it gives a real insight into the KGB's work and the persecution of dissidents. [Bold text here and following in the original.]

12. The material Mr Mitrokhin brought with him has been described by the SIS as "a case of exceptional counter-intelligence significance, not only illuminating past KGB activity against Western countries but also promising to nullify many of Russia's current assets". The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) described the material as "the most detailed and extensive pool of CI (counter-intelligence) ever received by the FBI". The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) described the Mr Mitrokhin's material as "the biggest CI bonanza of the postwar period". To have carried the initial contact with Mr Mitrokhin right through to his and his family's successful exfiltration, together with all his material, represents a major achievement by SIS. In addition the management of the material and its dissemination, as appropriate, to foreign liaison services was well handled. The Committee wish to pay tribute to this outstanding piece of intelligence work.

How Mr Mitrokhin reached the UK

13. On 24 March 1992 Vasili Mitrokhin walked into the British Embassy in the capital of a Baltic State and asked to see a member of staff. *** [Asterisks in the original indicate redactions.]

***

During his interview, Mr Mitrokhin said that he had worked for the KGB First Chief Directorate from 1948-84 and had written a number of volumes detailing KGB activities abroad, drawing on his experiences. He mentioned volumes concerning the UK, Australia, Canada***.

Mr Mitrokhin said that he would like to pass them to the relevant British authorities. The Embassy was impressed by the seriousness of Mr Mitrokhin's approach and invited him to return to the Embassy on 7 April.

14. The Embassy then arranged for a SIS interview team to be in *** for Mr Mitrokhin's visit, which took place on 9 April. Mr Mitrokhin provided his full name and personal details, stating that he had served in the First Chief Directorate in Moscow, and under alias abroad in the 1950s. He also handed over 10 envelopes, containing over 2000 closely typed pages of information apparently culled from KGB files. ***

***

***

One of the volumes on the US listed hundreds of KGB agents and confidential contacts by codename, with sufficient detail to allow identification in most cases. There was a similar but shorter list of agents and confidential contacts in the UK volume.

15. Mr Mitrokhin said that his main objective in writing and handing over these volumes had been to inflict as much damage as possible to the old KGB and party nomenklatura. He agreed to return in June with additional material and commented that he had unsuccessfully offered the documents to the Americans ***.

16. The above is taken from the submission from the SIS to Rt. Hon. Douglas Hurd, then Foreign Secretary, on 1 May 1992 and explains how Mr Mitrokhin came to pass on his archive to the UK. Mr Mitrokhin had a further two meetings with SIS officials before agreeing in September 1992 to come covertly to the UK for two months to help officials understand his archive. Permission was then sought from Douglas Hurd to exfiltrate Mr Mitrokhin and his family in October 1992, approval was given and the operation was successfully completed.

What happened next

17. Once Mr Mitrokhin's material reached the UK it was translated and assessed by the SIS and passed to the Security Service or liaison services as appropriate. This process started in May 1992 and continues. The SIS and Security Service produced summary reports for ministers on Mr Mitrokhin's material in July 1995. There then followed a discussion on how to fulfil Mr Mitrokhin's wish that the material was published and the Government's view that any publication would need to be controlled. There was also a risk that the story might leak, particularly due to the prosecution of a Mitrokhin identified agent in the US, and the Government would then lose control of the publication agenda.

18. A submission was put to the Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. Malcolm Rifkind, in March 1996 for authority to start the publication project and for Professor Andrew to work with Mr Mitrokhin's material. The submission also established that there would be further submissions before actual publication and recommended the establishment of an interdepartmental working group to oversee the publication project. Malcolm Rifkind agreed to the publication project and established criteria for any naming of people in the publication.

19. In the submission to Malcolm Rifkind it was stated that a parallel submission was being made to the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Michael Howard. In the event Michael Howard did not see a written submission but was advised orally. The interdepartmental working group was then established to oversee the draft publication and to ensure that the book was cleared by liaison services and that the Rifkind criteria were met.

20. In October 1997 the new Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. Robin Cook, was informed about the publication project and he informed No. 10 to ensure the Prime Minister was content with the publication project. In December 1998 the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, was informed about the publication project and told that the book would raise the issue of a KGB spy known to the Security Service but who had not been prosecuted. The submission did not identify the spy.

21. In March 1999 the Security Service consulted the Law Officers to see if they could take action against Mrs Norwood with a view to a prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. The Attorney General, Rt. Hon. John Morris, stated that there was no decision for him to take as 1992 had represented the last opportunity for any prosecution. The Security Service then took no action against Mrs Norwood.

22. Later in March 1999 Robin Cook was asked to authorise publication of the book. He was told in the submission that both the Home Secretary and the Attorney General were being consulted and clearing the details of the UK chapters. This was not the case. Robin Cook authorised the publication in April 1999, and a copy of the draft book was passed to David Rose who was making a TV documentary on espionage matters for the BBC.

23. The interdepartmental working group was briefed in June 1999 that David Rose had identified Mrs Norwood as the spy code-named HOLA in The Mitrokhin Archive and that he planned to interview her. The working group initially declined to allow Professor Andrew to name Mrs Norwood in the book, but when it became clear that her name was going to be made public elsewhere they agreed to Mrs Norwood being named. This was a breach of the Rifkind criteria. At this time media lines to take were being developed by the working group, the FCO and the Home Office. These lines to take were submitted to ministers in September 1999.

24. The working group was informed that The Mitrokhin Archive was to be serialised in the Times prior to publication and the BBC programme. The book was also being trailed in the US and on Radio 4. This developed into a media race and on I I September 1999 the Times published a story naming Mrs Norwood.

25. A full description of the events in the handling of the Mr Mitrokhin's material can be found in Annex E, with a brief summary of key dates over.

Summary of Key Events

24 March 1992

Mr Mitrokhin makes contact with UK authorities

1 May 1992

Submission to Douglas Hurd informing him about Mr Mitrokhin

May 1992 - onwards

SIS and Security Service work through all the material brought out by Mr Mitrokhin to identify items of UK interest and to make available material to friendly foreign agencies July 1995 SIS and Security Service Reports summarise the Mitrokhin work to date

6 March 1996

Submission to Malcolm Rifkind seeking to start the publication project, copied to Home Office and No. 10

28 June 1996

Interdepartmental working group meets

12 November 1996

Interdepartmental working group considers Professor Andrew's first draft of the book. No UK material included

23 October 1997

Submission to Robin Cook to make him aware of the publication project

6 January 1998

No. 10 content with publication project

October 1998

Interdepartmental Working Group receiving the draft UK chapters

10 December 1998

Submission to Jack Straw to make him aware of the publication project

15 January 1999

Interdepartmental working group discusses naming Mrs Norwood and other UK spies

10 March 1999

Security Service writes to Law Officers to ask about prosecution of Mrs Norwood

22 March 1999

Law Officers state that there is no decision to take on the prosecution of Mrs Norwood

Submission to Robin Cook to publish book

21 April 1999

Robin Cook approves final publication

22 April 1999

Submission to Jack Straw updating him on publication project, indirect reference to HOLA

27 April 1999

SIS pass material to David Rose

24 June 1999

SIS informs Interdepartmental working group that David Rose has identified Mrs Norwood

29 June 1999

Submission to Jack Straw updating him on the publication project, including reference to Mrs Norwood and that the BBC had her identity

19 July 1999

Interdepartmental working group agrees that Home Secretary should be consulted about an interview with Mrs Norwood

10 August 1999

David Rose interviews Mrs Norwood

24 August 1999

Security Service asks Law Officers if Mrs Norwood's confession altered the decision on prosecution

31 August 1999

Chairman of ISC informed about publication project

1 September 1999

Law Officers reply stating the position is unaffected

6 September 1999

Press lines agreed

9 September 1999

PS/Cabinet Secretary writes to PS/Ministers on forthcoming publications

11 September 1999

The Times publishes extracts of The Mitrokhin Archive


PROSECUTION OF SPIES

26. As mentioned earlier, the first concern was that KGB spies had not been prosecuted for their crimes. The authorities had known about the spies for a considerable time, but had chosen not to prosecute them. It also appeared that the decision not to prosecute had been taken without reference to the prosecuting authorities. The Mitrokhin Archive listed a number of UK spies only by their KGB code-names, except when there had been a successful prosecution or it was public knowledge in which case the book identified them by name. However, the book confirmed for the first time that Mrs Melita Norwood, code- named HOLA, and John Symonds, code-named SCOT, were KGB spies. Neither of these two met these criteria.

27. The Committee decided to examine the formal procedures of both the SIS and the Security Service for handling information and what actually happened in the cases of Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds. The evidence given to the Committee and its conclusions are detailed below, with the detailed information contained in Annexes F, G and H.

Mrs Melita Norwood - HOLA

28. The Security Service's evidence states that Mrs Norwood, HOLA, was an important UK case identified by Mr Mitrokhin's material. During 1992 and the first months of 1993 there was a clear understanding that Mr Mitrokhin's material needed to be subject to restrictive handling procedures to protect Mr Mitrokhin's security and the international handling of leads to still active spies. The Security Service felt unable to interview Mrs Norwood at this time because of these sensitivities. Later in 1993, when the sensitivities were less, the Service reviewed Mrs Norwood's case internally. They came to the conclusion that police action was inappropriate, given the age of Mrs Norwood and the passage of time since her espionage activities. However they did not consult the Law Officers on whether further action was appropriate with a view to prosecuting Mrs Norwood.

29. The Security Service denied that any decision was taken then not to prosecute Mrs Norwood. However, the Committee believes that a member of staff, to all intents and purposes, took the decision. By deciding not to interview Mrs Norwood at this time and making no attempt to gain evidence that would support a prosecution effectively prevented her possible prosecution. The then Director General of the Security Service, Dame Stella Rimington, cannot remember ever being briefed about Mrs Norwood. This supports the view that the decision was not taken at senior level.

30. The Security Service told the Committee that Mrs Norwood's case "slipped out of sight" until her name appeared in the draft book being written by Professor Andrew. In March 1999 the Security Service asked the Law Officers whether action could be taken with a view to prosecuting Mrs Norwood under the Official Secrets Act.

31. The Attorney General, Rt. Hon. John Morris, as he then was, responded by stating that there was no decision for him to make. In his evidence Sir John Morris explained that this meant that as a court would judge any prosecution an abuse of process, it was not necessary for him to give a view on whether further action against Mrs Norwood was appropriate. The Committee was told that a court would regard the prosecution as an abuse of process because the authorities had known about Mrs Norwood's espionage actives for a considerable time and had not taken action earlier. Consequently, he did not consider the evidential and public interest issues. On the basis of this answer from Sir John Morris, the Security Service then decided to take no further action against Mrs Norwood.

32. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, during evidence to the Committee, questioned the Security Service decision. The interdepartmental working group agreed in July 1999 that the Home Secretary should be consulted by the Service on whether Mrs Norwood should be interviewed before the journalist David Rose approached her. This course of action, which had been agreed by the Security Service representative on the group, was subsequently overturned during a conversation with an official in the Home Office, who had not attended the meeting. The Home Secretary stated during his evidence that he wished he had been consulted. The Director General of the Security Service, Mr Stephen Lander, stated that the decision to interview Mrs Norwood was an operational matter, and therefore it was for him to make and not the Home Secretary. Mr Lander stated that he believed that the Service would gain nothing from such an interview. The Committee recognises that any admissions made by Mrs Norwood in interview would not have been admissible in evidence against her unless they had been made under caution.

33. In the Committee's opinion the submission sent by the Security Service to the Legal Secretariat for the Law Officers was written to gain endorsement for the Service's earlier 'decision' not to take any action against Mrs Norwood. Witnesses have stated that decisions on prosecutions are based on evidential grounds and that public interest considerations are only taken into account if there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution. The Security Service's submission stated that in 1992/93 public interest reasons - the age of Mrs Norwood and the fact that the offences were committed 50 years ago - were reasons why it was considered that police action was inappropriate. The submission also stated that there was a lack of evidence.

34. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mrs Norwood's case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. This failure to consult the Law Officers resulted in the decision whether or not to prosecute Mrs Norwood effectively being taken by the Security Service. The Committee is concerned that the Service used public interest reasons to justify taking no further action against Mrs Norwood, when this was for the Law Officers to decide. We also believe that the failure of the Security Service to interview Mrs Norwood at this time prevented her possible prosecution.

35. The Committee is concerned that Mrs Norwood's case "slipped out of sight" between 1993 and 1998. The Committee believes that Mrs Norwood's case should have been kept under review during this period. This was a further serious failure by the Security Service.

36. We are concerned that it took over three months to consult the Law Officers after the Home Secretary was told in 1998 that the Law Officers were being consulted. The Committee also questions the basis on which the Security Service took the decision not to interview Mrs Norwood prior to her name being made public by the BBC. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mrs Norwood, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

Mr John Symonds - SCOT

37. The Committee discovered that the Security Service only contacted the Law Officers on 9 September 1999 to see if Mr Symonds, SCOT, could be prosecuted. This was despite the fact that they had known for a considerable time that Mr Symonds would be included and named in The Mitrokhin Archive. Mr Symonds was mentioned in the 10 March 1999 letter to the Law Officers on Mrs Norwood, but no opinion on whether Mr Symonds should be prosecuted was sought. In their evidence, the Security Service stated that they had followed up the allegations made by Mr Symonds in 1985. At that time, the Service had recorded that the Director of Public Prosecutions had given Mr Symonds immunity from prosecution for all crimes but serious offences of violence prior to his disclosure of his alleged KGB exploits. This immunity had been given in the context of police corruption enquiries.

38. When the Security Service received the information on Mr Symonds from Mr Mitrokhin's material they investigated the case. They interviewed people with whom Mr Symonds had made contact and concluded that no information had been compromised. However, the Security Service never interviewed Mr Symonds. On 20 December 1999 the Solicitor General announced that no action would be brought against Mr Symonds, on the grounds that he had previous immunity from prosecution.

39. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mr Symonds' case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. We are concerned that it took over 9 months to consult the Law Officers after he was identified in the draft book. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mr Symonds, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

Recent Changes to the arrangements

40. The Committee was told in evidence that steps have now been taken to ensure that these mistakes do not occur again. Whilst criteria exist for prosecutions, the Security Service has agreed to send all material relevant to prosecutions to the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers on a trial basis for 12 months. This will allow the Law Officers to assess when a prosecution is possible for all cases and validate these criteria for future use. The correspondence is also copied to the Legal Advisor at the Home Office for information.

41. To prevent any cases and leads not being followed up, the Director General has employed a retired member of staff to check every historical case to ensure that they have all been correctly investigated. Additionally, the Home Secretary has agreed with the Director General that all current cases will be reviewed annually and their status reported to him.


PUBLICATION METHOD AND HANDLING

42. The Committee identified three particular questions concerning the method and handling of the publication of The Mitrokhin Archive. These were:

a. Why was The Mitrokhin Archive published?

b. Why was Professor Andrew chosen?

c. How was the publication project managed and issues considered?

Why was The Mitrokhin Archive published?

43. Mr Mitrokhin's reason for compiling the archive and bringing it to the West was to have it published. Mr Mitrokhin tried to give his archive to the US Authorities before successfully giving the material to the UK. In his evidence to the Committee, Mr Mitrokhin stated that getting his material published was a condition of his co-operation with the UK authorities and had been recorded in a letter he gave to the Embassy staff when he first made contact. It therefore became incumbent on the Government to ensure that the material was published in a controlled manner. This meant that not only was ministerial approval required to start the publication project, but it would be needed prior to final publication.

44. The Government decided that the best route to publish the material would be to approach an historian to research and collate the archive, with Mr Mitrokhin, and act as the editor for the published volumes. This approach, the SIS argued, would ensure that the SIS retained control of all the papers and that none would be published without FCO and Security Service clearance.

45. The objective of the publication project was to place Mr Mitrokhin's material in the public domain in a controlled and unsensational manner. In the submission to Malcolm Rifkind the SIS stated that the project would provide "an important insight into the internal workings of the KGB while documenting the external subversive and espionage activities of the former communist state, most of which was unknown not only within Russia but even within the current Russian intelligence service. [The work] would describe a significant and usually hidden part of the 20th Century history which, to be properly understood, needs detailed, unsensational, scholarly exegesis." Mr Mitrokhin told the Committee that he is not happy with the way the book developed. He had wanted his material to be published in full, with an editor to craft it for the Western market. Mr Mitrokhin is not content with the way in which the book was published and he feels that he has not accomplished what he set out to achieve. He made it clear to us that he wished he had had full control over the handling of his material.

Why was Professor Andrew chosen?

46. The SIS first approached Professor Andrew in 1995 with a view to being invited to participate in the publication project. The SIS regarded Professor Andrew as a safe pair of hands, who had worked previously *** on the Gordievsky books. Professor Andrew was also security cleared and had signed the Official Secrets Act. Professor Andrew agreed to complete the project, knowing that ministerial approval would be required before the book could be published. The SIS nominated Professor Andrew as the editor for the book in the 6 March 1996 submission to Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary.

47. The Committee regards Professor Andrew as a distinguished academic who has specialised in the espionage field. He was a good choice to undertake this work.

How was the publication project managed?

48. The Committee has examined the submission of 6 March 1996, which was put to the then Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind. The Director General of the Security Service also copied the submission, in parallel, to the PUS of the Home Office, together with a letter covering her views on publication. In the submission, Malcolm Rifkind was invited to:

a. endorse the publication project, subject to a further submission prior to publication;

b. agree that Professor Andrew be invited to act as editor for the publication project;

c. endorse the setting up of an interdepartmental working group as the best way to deal with the various aspects associated with disclosures in the UK and allied countries; and

d. note that a parallel submission was being made to the Home Secretary.

49. The submission was also sent to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robin Butler, who passed it to the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon John Major, on 8 March 1996. In his note, Sir Robin Butler stated "There is no immediate action for the Prime Minister because the submission is to the Foreign Secretary, and the Home Office will also be making sure that the Home Secretary is aware of it and the Security Service view on it."

50. Malcolm Rifkind endorsed the publication project, but he imposed a number of criteria on the publication project. The names of the people the KGB had targeted for recruitment or attempted to influence could not be made public unless they had been prosecuted and convicted or they had agreed to the release of their names. Malcolm Rifkind made it clear that he did not want the Security Service to decide whether or not names should be revealed and that this point did not only apply to British names.

51. While no written submission was made to Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, the then PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson, made him aware of the project. There was a meeting of the Home Secretary, Richard Wilson, the Director General and the Director General designate at which publication was mentioned. Sir Richard Wilson stated in addition in his evidence that while he raised the matter "I would have steered Michael Howard away from spending any time on this at all". In a letter to Stella Rimington of 27 March, Richard Wilson agreed that establishing an interdepartmental working group was the best way forward.

52. The interdepartmental working group was then set up, under the chairmanship of the Intelligence Co-ordinator, with representatives from the SIS, FCO, Home Office and Security Service. The working group did not have any formal Terms of Reference to guide its work. However, the Chairman of the group stated that the group members understood the role of the group to be ensuring that the interests of all agencies and departments affected by the publication project were properly considered. The Chairman continued by stating that "this amounted very largely to ensuring the policy on the exclusion of certain categories of information from the book was complied with". The working group met in July 1996, November 1996 and March 1997. It did not meet again until 1999. However, in the Committee's opinion, the group successfully managed the publication project through to the end of 1998. This involved gaining approval for the text from allies and friendly liaison services and endorsing the structure of the book.

53. On 23 October 1997 the FCO wrote to Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, informing him of the publication project. In his evidence Sir John Kerr, the PUS in the FCO, agreed that this note "could have said more" and could have been "more felicitously drafted". Not only did the note not describe in any detail the restrictions that Malcolm Rifkind had placed on the publication project, it stated that no British national will be named without Security Service agreement, which was not in accord with one of the Rifkind criteria.

54. The Committee was also surprised to discover that Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, was only informed about the publication project on 10 December 1998. The submission and the accompanying note from SIS were informative and contained some detail about ongoing Security Service investigations. The submission stated that the Security Service was considering the prosecution of an 86 year old spy, however it did not specifically mention Mrs Norwood (HOLA) or Mr Symonds (SCOT) as potential problem areas. The Home Secretary was additionally informed that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were aware of the project.

55. The Committee views the events that took place in 1999 as confused and it is of the opinion that officials failed to provide Ministers with the necessary support and advice. When the final submission was sent to the Foreign Secretary on 22 March 1999, it stated that the "Security Service are clearing the detail contained in those chapters [on the UK] with the Home Secretary (who was briefed on the project in 1998, and is supportive) and the Attorney General." This was not accurate. No one was clearing the UK chapters with the Home Secretary, who had only noted the publication project in December 1998, and the Attorney General had only been consulted on the detail of one case at the time the submission went to the Foreign Secretary.

56. The interdepartmental working group met four times in 1999, in January, June, July and September. However, the Chairman of the working group noted in his evidence that representatives did not necessarily inform their ministers and senior officials of the working group's work and decisions. There were two significant occasions when the group agreed a course of action that was subsequently not carried out by the Home Office. One concerned the failure to consult the Home Secretary on interviewing Mrs Norwood (paragraph 32) and the second that the working group agreed in January 1999 that the book would need to be cleared by the Home Secretary. The latter failure by the Home Office to carry out the working group's decisions was important because the FCO told the Foreign Secretary that the Home Secretary was clearing the UK related material in a submission (see paragraph 56), when in fact he was not.

57. Additionally, the group's membership had no real experience in publication and media matters and while it did highlight the key issues the press would focus on, it failed to establish their importance.

58. The working group's control of the project was further complicated by the decision taken by the SIS to make available material from The Mitrokhin Archive to the journalist David Rose, who was making the BBC documentary "The Spying Game". Whether or not aided by material from The Mitrokhin Archive or from other sources, David Rose identified HOLA as Mrs Norwood and told the book's publisher that he would be including her in his documentary. In the light of this the working group was persuaded by the book's publisher to include the names of Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds. The Committee notes that this was technically in breach of the Rifkind criteria. Additionally, the publishers decided to serialise the book in the Times and to inform the Today programme on Radio 4 and the US TV stations ABC/CBS of the book's content. This compounded the competitive pressure in the media to get the story out first and in a sensationalised manner.

59. At this time the media lines to take were being developed by the working group with support from the FCO and the Home Office. The Home Secretary saw the press lines in the week prior to the HOLA story appearing in the Times. The Foreign Secretary did not see them.

60. Once the story broke Ministers were unable to use the prepared press lines because they were inadequate. In his statement on 13 September 1999, the Home Secretary had the opportunity to reflect the view of the Security Service that Mrs Norwood's activities had not been as significant as represented in the media. However, he did not do so. As a result, the public's perception of Mrs Norwood is that she provided a real contribution to the Soviet atomic bomb development. The Security Service stated that Mrs Norwood provided the Soviets with intelligence on the cladding material used in the UK nuclear reactors, which the Soviets did not use because they copied the American design (Annex J).

61. When the authority to start the publication project was sought in 1996, Mrs Norwood had "slipped out of sight" of the Security Service. The Director General of the Security Service did not know about Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds and she was therefore unable to brief the PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson, or the Home Secretary, Michael Howard. As far as she was concerned the main Mitrokhin related leads, *** had been followed up. This meant that when Michael Howard was made aware of the publication project, both he and Richard Wilson were unsighted on Mrs Norwood and any potential controversy within the UK material.

62. While the Committee believes that the establishment of the interdepartmental working group to handle matters was a sound decision, the group was unable to fully brief senior officials and Ministers because it was likewise unaware of the significance of this UK material until late 1998.

63. The Committee believes that the October 1997 submission to Robin Cook should have included the Rifkind criteria for naming individuals. We believe that the submission could have done so within the rules governing the disclosure of information on previous administrations.

64. The submission sent to the Foreign Secretary on 22 March 1999 requested authorisation to proceed with publication. It stated that the "Security Service are clearing the detail contained in those chapters [on the UK] with the Home Secretary (who was briefed on the project in 1998, and is supportive) and the Attorney General." This was not accurate. The Committee believes that it was a failing of the system that allowed the Foreign Secretary, under the false impression that the Home Secretary had been consulted, to authorise the publication of a book containing allegations about spies in the UK who had not been prosecuted by the Security Service.

65. The Committee believes that the Security Service and Home Office in particular failed to ensure that working group decisions were carried out, noting that on two occasions the Home Secretary was not consulted in the manner the working group had agreed.

66. The Committee believes that the above points were serious failures by officials either to inform Ministers of the true situation or to ensure that agreed actions were being carried out. The working group also failed to ensure that the Rifkind criteria were met. These failures by officials, some at senior level, caused Ministers to make decisions on the basis of incorrect information.

67. The Committee believes that the interdepartmental working group, as constituted, was not adequate to develop the necessary media strategy and ensure that publication was in a controlled and unsensationalised manner. The group were unable to alert ministers in a timely manner to the key issues and to provide them with appropriate and robust lines to take.

68. The Committee believes that misleading stories were allowed to receive wide circulation by a failure to anticipate the likely media focus and to have prepared and promulgated appropriate responses.


MINISTERIAL AND SENIOR OFFICIAL OVERSIGHT

69. The Committee was concerned, when examining the evidence, that Ministers were not told enough in a timely fashion. The fact that the then Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. John Major, was not told until January 1993, 9 months after the first contact with Mr Mitrokhin is worthy of note. There is evidence to suggest that the US President could have known about this important UK intelligence success before the Prime Minister. Additionally the Home Secretary appears not to have been told until October 1993 at the earliest and probably not until July 1995. There is no evidence however that UK ministers were disadvantaged when dealing with their foreign counterparts over this matter.

70. During evidence to the Committee witnesses were asked if ministers could have been told about Mr Mitrokhin and his material and the publication project earlier in their appointment. Michael Howard wished he had been told about Mrs Norwood and the current Home Secretary, Jack Straw, expressed the view that he should have been informed earlier.

71. In respect of the present Prime Minster's knowledge of Mr Mitrokhin, about which there were initial misunderstandings following the Chief Press Secretary's briefing on September 13th, which he clarified in a letter to the Times on September 15, the Committee has established the facts are as follows: The Prime Minister was first told about the existence of Mr Mitrokhin and his material in general terms in 1995 when Leader of the Opposition. He was told about the publication project in December 1997. No. 10 were informed about the specific matter of Mrs Norwood in June 1999 but the Prime Minister was not told at that point. He was first told about Mrs Norwood in a letter dated 9 September, the day before the story appeared in the Times.

72. The Committee also noted that the Mitrokhin case/story was never included in hand-over briefs between ministers or PUS/Cabinet Secretary appointments. Evidence from the Home Office and FCO has confirmed this.

73. The Committee believes that these matters were of such a significance that they required regular briefing of ministers. Additionally, whilst the situation is certainly more complex when briefing a new minister, careful consideration is needed on exactly when to brief ministers on sensitive material such as the Mr Mitrokhin material.

74. The Committee recommends that the hand-over briefing for Permanent Under Secretaries should include any sensitive material of possible continuing interest, on which the previous Permanent Under Secretary had been briefed. This should assist in preventing information lying dormant and unknown within the department.

Liaison

75. The Committee also investigated the issue of what was given to foreign liaison services. The Chief of the SIS, in his evidence to the Committee, clearly stated that he believes that the SIS operated entirely properly in its dealings with liaison services. It is worthy of note, that while a significant amount of information was exchanged before 1994, the Intelligence Services Act 1994 gives the Chief of the SIS the statutory power to disclose the material as necessary.

76. Consequently, the Committee believes that the sharing of Mr Mitrokhin's material with foreign liaison by the SIS was in a proper and controlled manner.

77. The Committee was told that once the S IS had passed this sensitive material to the liaison services, it was the responsibility of that service to protect the material. The Committee is aware of a number of instances when Mitrokhin related material leaked and was even made public. Whilst the Committee recognises the difficulties the SIS has in ensuring that foreign liaison services afford material sufficient protection, it is concerned that material was compromised in a way that could have been damaging to the SIS and UK.

Briefing the ISC

78. Witnesses agreed that the Committee should have been told about the publication project before publication. All were surprised that the Committee had not been told earlier than 31 August 1999. Some witnesses believed that the Committee could have been told in 1996, once Malcolm Rifkind had given approval for the project to start. Others believed that the Committee should have been informed before David Rose, perhaps when Robin Cook either noted the publication project in October 1997 or when he authorised publication in March 1999. The Committee noted that the matter was raised in the January 1999 meeting of the Interdepartmental working group but that no action was taken to inform the Committee.

79. The Committee believes that it would have been advisable and could have been beneficial for the Agencies and Government to inform us earlier than they did about the publication project. The Committee recommends that in future the Committee be notified as soon as it is reasonably possible when material, particularly potentially controversial material, is being placed in the public domain.


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

A. Carrying the initial contact with Mr Mitrokhin right through to his and his family's successful exfiltration together with all his material represents a major achievement by SIS. In addition the management of the material and its dissemination, as appropriate, to foreign liaison services was well handled. The Committee wish to pay tribute to this outstanding piece of intelligence work.

B. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mrs Norwood's case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. This failure to consult the Law Officers resulted in the decision whether or not to prosecute Mrs Norwood effectively being taken by the Security Service. The Committee is concerned that the Service used public interest reasons to justify taking no further action against Mrs Norwood, when this was for the Law Officers to decide. We also believe that the failure of the Security Service to interview Mrs Norwood at this time prevented her possible prosecution.

C. The Committee is concerned that Mrs Norwood's case "slipped out of sight" between 1993 and 1998. The Committee believes that Mrs Norwood's case should have been kept under review during this period. This was a further serious failure by the Security Service.

D. We are concerned that it took over three months to consult the Law Officers after Mrs Norwood's case was raised in 1998. The Committee also questions the basis on which the Security Service took the decision not to interview Mrs Norwood prior to her name being made public by the BBC. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mrs Norwood, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

E. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mr Symonds' case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. We are concerned that it took over 9 months to consult the Law Officers after he was identified in the draft book. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mr Symonds, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

F. When the authority to start the publication project was sought in 1996, Mrs Norwood had "slipped out of sight" of the Security Service. The Director General of the Security Service did not know about Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds and she was therefore unable to brief the PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson, or the Home Secretary, Michael Howard. As far as she was concerned the main Mitrokhin related leads, ***, had been followed up. This meant that when Michael Howard was made aware of the publication project, both he and Richard Wilson were unsighted on Mrs Norwood and any potential controversy within the UK material. G. While the Committee believes that the establishment of the interdepartmental working group to handle matters was a sound decision, the group failed fully to brief senior officials and ministers because it was likewise unaware of the significance of this UK material until late 1998.

H. The Committee believes that the October 1997 submission to the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, should have included the Rifkind criteria for naming individuals. We believe that the submission could have done so within the rules governing the disclosure of information on previous administrations.

I. The submission sent to the Foreign Secretary on 22 March 1999 requested authorisation to proceed with publication. It stated that the "Security Service are clearing the detail contained in those chapters [on the UK] with the Home Secretary (who was briefed on the project in 1998, and is supportive) and the Attorney General." This was not accurate. The Committee believes that it was a failing of the system that allowed the Foreign Secretary, under the false impression that the Home Secretary had been consulted, to authorise the publication of a book containing allegations about spies in the UK who had not been prosecuted by the Security Service.

J. The Committee believes that the Security Service and Home Office in particular failed to ensure that working group decisions were carried out, noting that on two occasions the Home Secretary was not consulted in the manner the working group had agreed.

K. The Committee believes that the above points were serious failures by officials either to inform ministers of the true situation or to ensure that agreed actions were being carried out. The working group also failed to ensure that the Rifkind criteria were met. These failures by officials, some at senior level, caused Ministers to make decisions on the basis of incorrect information.

L. The Committee believes that the interdepartmental working group, as constituted, was not adequate to develop the necessary media strategy and ensure that publication was in a controlled and unsensationalised manner. The group were unable to alert ministers in a timely manner to the key issues and to provide them with appropriate and robust lines to take.

M. The Committee believes that misleading stories were allowed to receive wide circulation by a failure to anticipate the likely media focus and to have prepared and promulgated appropriate responses.

N. The Committee believes that these matters were of such a significance that they required regular briefing of ministers. Additionally, whilst the situation is certainly more complex when briefing a new minister, careful consideration is needed on exactly when to brief ministers on sensitive material such as The Mitrokhin Archive.

O. The Committee recommends that the hand-over briefing for Permanent Under Secretaries should include any sensitive material of possible continuing interest, on which the previous Permanent Under Secretary had been briefed. This should assist in preventing information lying dormant and unknown within the department.

P. The Committee believes that the sharing of Mr Mitrokhin's material with foreign liaison by the SIS was in a proper and controlled manner.

Q. Whilst the Committee recognises the difficulties the SIS has in ensuring that foreign liaison services afford material sufficient protection, it is concerned that material was compromised in a way that could have been damaging to the SIS and UK.

R. The Committee believes that it would have been advisable and could have been beneficial for the Agencies and Government to inform us earlier than they did about the publication project. The Committee recommends that in future the Committee be notified as soon as it is reasonably possible when material, particularly potentially controversial material, is being placed in the public domain.


ANNEXES

List of Annexes

Annex A is the Home Secretary's statement on 13 September 1999

Annex B is the questionnaire the Committee sent to Departments and Agencies at the start of the inquiry.

Annex C is the letter from the Home Secretary establishing the Government's terms of reference for the inquiry.

Annex D is the list of witnesses.

Annex E is a complete summary of events in the handling of the Mr Mitrokhin's material by the Agencies and Departments, supported by extracts from submissions, meeting records and oral evidence.

Annex F covers the handling of Mr Mitrokhin's material by the SIS.

Annexes G and H describe the way the Security Service handled Mr Mitrokhin's material and the formal procedure for handling such material.

Annex I describes the current procedure within the Security Service for informing Ministers and senior officials about espionage cases.

Annex J is the Security Service assessment of Mrs Norwood activities as a spy.


ANNEX A - HOME SECRETARY'S STATEMENT
13 SEPTEMBER 1999

1. With the agreement of the Prime Minister, I have today invited the cross party Intelligence and Security Committee under the Chairmanship of the Rt. Hon. Tom King, MP to examine the policies and procedures adopted within the Security and Intelligence Agencies for the handling of information supplied by Mr. Mitrokhin. As much as possible of the Committee's report will be published. In addition I have agreed with the Director General of the Security Service that we should strengthen our existing arrangements for oversight in this area with an annual report covering all the Service's current spy cases. In the light of the ISC report we will, with Lord Lloyd, Chairman of the Security Commission consider whether any matters require to be considered by the Commission.

2. I have today discussed with the Director General of the Security Service his report relating to the Mitrokhin case. The following is my understanding of the situation.

3. Vasili Mitrokhin was a KGB archivist who had access to papers which went to the heart of Soviet espionage activity during the cold war. He defected to the UK in 1992. This was a major intelligence coup. The information which Mitrokhin brought with him was and is of enormous significance to the UK and its allies. It has provided a large number of leads to KGB activities in a period of at least 40 years before Mitrokhin's retirement in 1985.

4. The archive demonstrated the extent to which the KGB had spied successfully over many years in Western Countries. It also showed that after increased security measures were introduced in the UK in the early 1970s the KGB were less successful here than elsewhere. The material provided by Mitrokhin was carefully assessed by the UK Agencies and those of our Allies from 1992. This inevitably took a great deal of time.

5. In 1996 the previous Government made a decision that the extraordinary circumstances of the case, and the story which Mitrokhin's information revealed, should be placed in the public domain. Mitrokhin brought no KGB documents. Instead his information was contained in voluminous notes smuggled out of his office. Given the nature of this material, it was decided by the previous Government that the best way to place it in the public domain was by way of a proper historical analysis. The material was made available to Professor Christopher Andrew of Cambridge University, whose book, co- authored with Mitrokhin, will be published this week. Sir Malcolm Rifkind then Foreign Secretary has told me that these decisions were made with his consent.

6. Among the material brought out by Mitrokhin were notes related to Mrs Melita Norwood the spy known as HOLA.

7. Mrs Norwood was first vetted in 1945 for access to government secrets while she worked for the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association (BNFMRA) who were undertaking secret work for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Security Service raised doubts about her communist associations, but further investigation by the Service and the police did not substantiate these doubts and she was given clearance for access to sensitive documents.

8. The Security Service, however, kept her case under review and further investigations raised new concerns. She did not have authorised access to government secrets after September 1949 and her vetting clearance was revoked in 1951. She was vetted again in 1962 but she was again refused clearance.

9. In 1965 the Security Service received further information about espionage activity in the immediate post-war period which led it to mount an extended investigation of Mrs Norwood. The investigation left the Service with the view that she had been a spy in the 1940s but it provided no usable evidence to support the view. The Home Secretary of the day the Rt Hon Sir Frank Soskice QC, was informed of the Service's suspicions. The Service decided not to interview her because that would have revealed the Service's knowledge which was relevant to other sensitive investigations then underway.

10. There is no reason to doubt the detail of the material drawn from Mr Mitrokhin nor that the KGB regarded Mrs Norwood as an important spy. She was one of a number of spies in this country and the United States who passed information to the Soviet Union about the developments of the atom bomb during the 1940s. However the vetting system prevented her from having authorised access to government secrets after 1949.

11. When Mitrokhin's notes of the KGB archive material became available to British Intelligence in 1992, they confirmed suspicions about Mrs Norwood's role. The view was taken by the Service that this material did not on its own provide evidence that could be put to a UK Court. Moreover, a judgement was made by the Agencies that material should remain secret for some years as there were many leads to more recent espionage to be followed up, particularly in the countries of a number of our close allies. It also judged that interviewing Mrs Norwood, which might have provided admissible evidence, could have jeopardised exploitation of those leads. These decisions were made by the Agencies. Ministers of the day, including Law Officers, were not consulted.

12. The Director General of the Security Service routinely briefs me on the work of the Service and its current investigations. I was made aware in general terms about the Mitrokhin material in 1997 in connection with a separate matter. However, I was first made aware of the role of Mrs Norwood in a minute in December 1998 which informed me of the plans to publish the book.

13. Prosecutions are a matter for the Law Officers and the authorities and not for the Home Secretary. The December 1998 minute informed me that the Security Service were then currently considering whether to recommend the prosecution of Mrs. Norwood. The Attorney General was made aware of Mrs Norwood's case earlier this year.

14. 1 was next provided with information on this matter in a minute dated 22 April 1999 when I was told by my officials that the Attorney General had sent guidance to the Security Service that a prosecution was inappropriate. I was later told that this was an over-simplification. The Attorney General's position was explained to me more fully in a note of 29 June which reported that 1992 represented the last opportunity for the authorities to proceed by way of a criminal investigation/possible prosecution. The Attorney General had concluded therefore that there was no decision for him to make.

15. In a minute dated 31 August I was told that the Security Service legal adviser had written to the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers to ask whether Mrs Norwood's alleged admissions to the BBC changed the position on possible prosecution. In a reply to the Security Service earlier this month, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers reflected the Attorney General's view that the position was unaffected by the fact that interview had been given and little that was known of that interview. The Security Service were invited to revert to the Legal Secretariat in the event that they considered, following the broadcast, that the position had changed.

16. So far as the Symonds case is concerned, I was not personally briefed on this case until this weekend though officials in my Department have been aware of it. I understand that this case and claims were investigated at the time. Some of the same constraints on action applied as in the HOLA case. The Law Officers have now been made aware of the case and will be studying the transcript of the forthcoming BBC programme.

17. The Security Service and prosecuting authorities will keep any other cases of this kind under review in the light of developments.


ANNEX B - QUESTIONNAIRE SENT OUT BY
INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

MITROKHIN ARCHIVE INQUIRY QUESTIONNAIRE

1. Policy and Procedure

a. What were the policies and procedures for receiving, handling, distributing and informing ministers and departmental officials about the information contained in The Mitrokhin Archive?

b. Are there rules and conventions covering these policies and procedures, based on previous cases?

c. Have the rules and conventions, policies and procedures changed over the last 25 years?

d. Does the DG Security Service take the decision to recommend prosecution of spies; if so, is the authority based on legislation, practice or delegation; is that decision visible to and endorsed by the Home Secretary and/or Attorney General; does the DG inform the Home Secretary and/or the Attorney General of a decision not to recommend prosecution; and do the Chief of SIS and the Foreign Secretary operate in a similar way?

e. How are decisions to reveal material such as The Mitrokhin Archives to the public made; is there cross departmental agreement; are ministers consulted either on the general contents or the detail; and on what basis were the decisions made?

f. Does the Crown benefit from such public disclosures, through financial payments, royalties or other sources?

g. Does any minister feel that they should have been consulted and were not, and, if so, why?

h. Who is the "eminent outsider" that reviews and reports the Security Service's spy cases; who decides which cases are examined and to whom do they report; and what role did they have in The Mitrokhin Archive case?

i. What changes have been proposed and/or implemented to any of the above as a result of The Mitrokhin Archive?

2. Handling of The Mitrokhin Archive

a. Chronology: When was initial contact with Mitrokhin first made? From initial contact with Mitrokhin to today, including ministers and senior officials in agencies and departments, who was informed of what when? b. When were decisions made not to inform ministers and senior officials, by whom and why? Were these decisions ever reviewed?

c. What other significant decisions were made by the agencies without reference to ministers and/or departments, by whom and why?

d. Was a cross-departmental committee established to review or discuss The Mitrokhin Archive, if so when, what was the membership, what was its terms of reference and what did it discuss, how often did it meet and to whom did it report? Did the committee agree that the material should be published?

e. Was the JIC informed about The Mitrokhin Archive, if so when and why?

f. Why was the Intelligence and Security Committee not informed about The Mitrokhin Archive; who made the decision and when; and was the decision reviewed?

g. When was material from The Mitrokhin Archive released to Allies, why and under whose authority? Could foreign ministers have been better briefed than UK ministers?

h. When were the decisions not to prosecute people taken, by whom, why and were the decisions reviewed?

i. Why was 1992 the last opportunity to prosecute Norwood?

j. Did Mitrokhin place any conditions on his defection that forced the publication of the material, if so who agreed to the conditions and why?

3. Identified Agents

a. What information provided by Mitrokhin on UK spies: (i) was previously unknown; (ii) confirmed suspicions; and (iii) already known?

b. Has an assessment of the damage caused by Norwood and the other UK spies been carried out?

c. Who took the decisions not to investigate and/or interview and/or prosecute the agents and spies identified in The Mitrokhin Archive.

d. Were any of the UK spies (i) interviewed or (ii) prosecuted as a result of The Mitrokhin Archive?

e. How many spies and agents in other countries were identified and/or interviewed and/or prosecuted as a result of The Mitrokhin Archive?

f. How many of the Soviet agents identified in the Archive were known to the agencies and what action has been taken in each case?

g. Why was Symonds not taken seriously when he offered his services in 1984/5?

4. Propriety

a. Who decided that the Archive should be offered to Andrew, when, why and under what terms? Was that decision fully briefed to and supported by ministers? Was the use of an official historian not considered?

b. What are the financial arrangements for publication and TV rights?

c. Who owns The Mitrokhin Archive and its copyright?

5. Other Points

a. Are there any other points in connection with The Mitrokhin Archive that you wish to inform the Committee about?


ANNEX C - LETTER FROM THE
HOME SECRETARY ESTABLISHING
THE GOVERNMENT'S TERMS OF REFERENCE
FOR THE INQUIRY

QUEEN ANNE'S GATE LONDON SW1H 9AT

08 OCT 1999

The Rt Hon Tom King MP
Chairman
Intelligence and Security Committee
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA


Dear Tom,

THE MITROKHIN ARCHIVE

I am grateful to you for responding so readily to the suggestion that I might announce that the ISC was being invited to examine the policies and procedures adopted by the Security and Intelligence Agencies for the handling of information supplied by Mr Mitrokhin. The Prime Minister and I are grateful to you for saying publicly so quickly that your Committee was ready to put this examination into its work programme.

We should be glad if you would take as your terms of reference the statement I issued on 13 September, namely - to examine the policies and procedures adopted within the Security and Intelligence Agencies for the handling of information supplied by Mr Mitrokhin.

As your press release of 13 September noted, our expectation is that the inquiry will be carried out under the Committee's normal statutory powers under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, and in accordance with the usual arrangements for investigations by your Committee, including the statutory "Arrangements for the Disclosure of Information to the Intelligence and Security Committee" approved by Ministers in accordance with paragraph 3(1)(a) of Schedule 3 of that Act.

Within the overall framework of these powers and arrangements we will, of course, be as open as possible in responding to requests from the Committee for information and evidence. Officials will prepare papers to provide answers to the questions tabled by your Clerk, and covering the work on this subject under the previous administration as well as the current Government. Since this involves briefing your Committee on the role of Ministers in the last administration, we will need to clear our lines with those individuals in the usual way. I have already said that the Government's intention is that as much as possible of your report will be published. I would of course be happy to come and meet your Committee at the appropriate stage in your investigation if you thought this helpful.

The inquiry will clearly be an important clement of your Committee's work programme for the year. If you have any queries or concerns about this letter please get in touch. We look forward to seeing your report.

Yours ever,

[Signature]

JACK STRAW


ANNEX D - LIST OF WITNESSES

Ministers

Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP - Foreign Secretary

Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP - Home Secretary

Former Ministers

Rt. Hon. Sir Nicholas Lyell QC MP - former Attorney General

Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC - former Foreign Secretary

Rt. Hon. Mr. Michael Howard QC MP - former Home Secretary

Rt. Hon. Sir John Morris QC MP - former Attorney General

Officials

Cabinet Office

Sir Richard Wilson KCB - Cabinet Secretary (formerly Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office)

Mr. Sebastian Wood - PPS to the Cabinet Secretary

Mr. Robert Raine - Departmental Official

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Sir John Keff KCMG - Permanent Under Secretary

Mr. Sherrard Cowper-Coles - PPS to the Foreign Secretary

Mr. Lyn Parker - Departmental Official

Home Office

Sir David Omand KCB - Permanent Under Secretary

Ms. Hilary Jackson - PPS to the Home Secretary

Mr. Mike Gillespie - Departmental Official

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

Mr. David Seymour - Legal Secretary

Mr. Stephen Parkinson - Deputy Legal Secretary

Mr. Adam Chapman

Security Service

Mr. Stephen Lander CB - Director General of the Security Service

Departmental Officials

SIS

Mr. Richard Dearlove OBE - Chief of SIS

Departmental Officials

Others

Mr. Vasili Mitrokhin

Professor Christopher Andrew

Dame Stella Rimington DCB - former Director General of the Security Service

Witnesses by correspondence

Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke QC MP - former Home Secretary

Mr. John Alpass - former Intelligence Co-ordinator and Chairman of the Interdepartmental Working Group


ANNEX E - DETAILS OF EVENTS

1. 'C', the Chief of the SIS, Sir Colin McColl, informed the Foreign Secretary (Douglas Hurd) about Mr Mitrokhin orally in April 1992. On I May 1992 the Foreign Secretary was briefed, in a written submission, on the general points on Mr Mitrokhin, who was known by the code word GUNNER. Part of that submission has been reproduced in paragraphs 12 to 14 of the main Report. On 21 August a submission to the Foreign Secretary sought authorisation for GUNNER (Mr Mitrokhin) to visit the UK to help the work on his archive and on 23 October another submission sought authority for the exfiltration of GUNNER (Mr Mitrokhin) and his family and his resettlement in the UK.

2. On 6 October the Prime Minister's Private Secretary was told about GUNNER (Mr Mitrokhin) and the Permanent Under Secretary (PUS) at the Home Office, Sir Clive Whitmore, was consulted by 'C' on 4 November to ensure that Mr Mitrokhin and his family's stay in the UK was regularised. Sir Clive Whitmore replied on 6 November. There is no documentary evidence that the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. John Major, was briefed on Mr Mitrokhin until 13 January 1993, when he saw 'C'.

3. As soon as Mr Mitrokhin's material reached the UK the SIS passed that relating to the UK to the Security Service in unprocessed form for them to take matters forward and investigate1. Material relating to the USA and Canada was read by the SIS and then passed, through liaison channels, to the CIA and FBI at Director level and to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in July 1992. Material relating to Australia was passed to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in September 1992.

____________________

1 The translation of the material was undertaken by SIS, with Security Service assistance, over the following six years.

4. In February 1993 the Cabinet Secretary (Sir Robin Butler) and the Intelligence Co-ordinator were briefed on the Mitrokhin case, Mr Mitrokhin's code word having been changed from GUNNER to JESSANT when he came to the UK. Additionally, the Security Service briefed the Cabinet Secretary on the UK individuals named in the archive and the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Chairman was briefed on Mr Mitrokhin by the Intelligence Co-ordinator.

5. On 3 March Sir Robin Butler chaired a meeting that was attended by the Chief of the SIS, the Director General of the Security Service (Mrs Stella Rimington), the Prime Minister's Private Secretary and Sir Clive Whitmore, the PUS at the Home Office. At this meeting Sir Robin indicated that Ministers should be alerted to Mr Mitrokhin's existence and it was agreed that 'C' would write to Sir Robin to allow him to alert the Prime Minister.

6. 'C' wrote to the Cabinet Secretary on 11 March and this briefing was passed to the Prime Minister on 12 March, whose Private Secretary confirmed on 15 March that the Prime Minister had seen the note. 'C's letter was copied to Sir Clive Whitmore, Mrs Rimington and to Sir David Gillmore, the PUS at the FCO. There is no evidence that the Home Secretary, then the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, was told about Mr Mitrokhin. 'C's letter was shown to the Foreign Secretary on 27 March, who hoped that the European Allies could be briefed reasonably soon, and it was noted that the PUS in the FCO (Sir David Gillmore) had been briefed on Mr Mitrokhin by 'C'.

7. On 27 May the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard replaced Kenneth Clarke as Home Secretary. There is no evidence that Michael Howard was briefed on Mr Mitrokhin on his appointment.

8. Some of the material provided by Mr Mitrokhin was relevant to the activities of Michael John SMITH, who was tried under the Official Secrets Act in 1993 and convicted for offences he committed between 1990-92. The Director General of the Security Service briefed the Prime Minister on the SMITH case and Mr Mitrokhin in June and October 1993.

9. In April 1994 the Foreign Secretary was briefed on Mr Mitrokhin, who was due to visit the USA. In July David Spedding, who was due to replace Colin McColl as 'C' in September, mentioned Mr Mitrokhin and his archive to the new PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson. However, partly due to a misunderstanding between Richard Wilson and his Private Office, Richard Wilson was not shown any of the material that had been sent to his predecessor, Sir Clive Whitmore. Additionally in August, 'C' briefed the new PUS at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir John Coles, on Mr Mitrokhin. In November the new 'C', David Spedding, briefed the Foreign Secretary on Mr Mitrokhin and, in questioning, the evidence of KGB penetration of the UK, USA and other European countries was discussed. 'C' stated that the Security Service was investigating the leads but that the degree of penetration in the UK was considerably lower than elsewhere.

10. In January 1995 'C' spoke to the Cabinet Secretary and agreed that the Leader of the Opposition, The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, should be briefed on Mr Mitrokhin. This would be in the context of a discussion on the reliability and status as a source of Oleg Gordievsky, another KGB defector, to show that other defectors had corroborated Gordievsky's information. The meeting took place a few days later. Additionally it was agreed that 'C' would prepare a note for the Foreign Secretary, which would be copied to the Prime Minister through the Cabinet Secretary, on possible publicity surrounding Mr Mitrokhin's defection. 'Me Prime Minister agreed that a line to take should be prepared and the Cabinet Secretary tasked the SIS, in consultation with the Security Service, to make the necessary arrangements.

11. At the beginning of July 1995 The Rt. Hon. Malcolm Rifkind replaced Douglas Hurd as Foreign Secretary, although neither the FCO nor the SIS briefed him on Mr Mitrokhin on his appointment. At the end of the month, both the SIS and the Security Service provided details to the Private Secretaries of the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. These were also copied to the PUSs at the Home Office, the FCO and the MOD as well as to the Intelligence Co-ordinator. The SIS provided an account of the Mitrokhin case as a whole and their current thinking on it, while the Security Service provided a report on the UK leads provided by Mr Mitrokhin's material. Of note, the Security Service report made reference to the KGB acquiring "some details of nuclear technology in the immediate post-war period".

12. When these reports were produced, they were used to brief Malcolm Rifkind on Mr Mitrokhin. There is no record of the Home Secretary, The Rt. Hon. Michael Howard, having seen these reports, at this time although he believes that he did - this could have been his first exposure to Mr Mitrokhin. The Prime Minister saw the material and regarded Mr Mitrokhin as "a remarkable catch" and copies of the letter from his Private Secretary were sent to Ministers' Private Secretaries at the Home Office and FCO.

13. In December 1995, 'C' discussed the forthcoming arrest of one of the KGB agents in the US named in Mr Mitrokhin's papers with the Foreign Secretary. It was agreed at that meeting that there "should be suitable publicity rather than the story being frittered away as a result of an uncontrolled leak", a view that was endorsed by Malcolm Rifkind.

14. On 1 March 1996, the Security Service wrote to the PUS at the Home Office warning that the trial of the US agent, LIPKA, could result in the exposure of Mr Mitrokhin, as he could be called as a witness, with the resulting publicity that would occur. This letter was passed to the Home Secretary a week later. On 6 March the Foreign Office minuted the Foreign Secretary seeking authority for the SIS "to make arrangements in principle for publication of material from the JESSANT [Mr Mitrokhin's] archive. Actual publication of material would be the subject of further submissions."

15. The submission stated that "the Security Service concurs" with the proposal and that a parallel submission was being sent to the Home Secretary. The recommended publication route was for Mr Mitrokhin to work on selections of his material in conjunction with a British editor, who would be responsible for finding a publisher. The SIS nominated Professor Christopher Andrew, who had seen some of Mr Mitrokhin's material in late 1995 and had expressed an interest in producing the book. This submission did not reach the Foreign Secretary until 11 March at the earliest, as various Foreign Office officials commented on the merits of the proposal on its way to the Foreign Secretary.

16. On 6 March the Director General of the Security Service wrote to the PUS at the Home Office (Richard Wilson), attaching a copy of the submission to the Foreign Secretary. In her letter, Stella Rimington recommended that, if publication was to go ahead, a working group should be established to co-ordinate the publication project. Our evidence is that the submission was not shown to Michael Howard, but that Richard Wilson made the Home Secretary aware of the project. On 8 March the Cabinet Secretary, who had been copied the submission to the Foreign Secretary, wrote to the Prime Minister's Private Secretary. In his note, Sir Robin Butler stated "There is no immediate action for the Prime Minister because the submission is to the Foreign Secretary, and the Home Office will also be making sure that the Home Secretary is aware of it and the Security Service view on it."

17. On 12 March the Prime Minister's Private Secretary wrote to the Cabinet Secretary stating that the Prime Minister had seen the submission and had noted it. On 13 March the Foreign Secretary's Private Secretary wrote stating that Malcolm Rifkind "sees value in the publication of JESSANT's [Mr Mitrokhin] material". However, the Foreign Secretary requested that the names of any people the KGB had targeted for recruitment or attempted to influence only be made public if they had been prosecuted and convicted or had agreed to the release of their names. He thought that "it would be grossly unfair if unproven allegations were published with our agreement." The letter continued "This means that he [Malcolm Rifkind] is not willing for the Security Service to decide whether or not names should be revealed."

18. On 19 March the SIS informed the Security Service that the Foreign Secretary had approved the submission, with qualifications. The SIS copied all the comments from the Foreign Office officials to both the Security Service and the Intelligence Co-ordinator. The Director General of the Security Service, Stella Rimington, and her designated successor, Stephen Lander, had a meeting with the Home Secretary on 20 March during which the arrest of LIPKA and possible publicity about Mitrokhin were discussed. The PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson, was present at that meeting. On 27 March the PUS at the Home Office wrote to the Director General of the Security Service supporting the establishment of a working group to oversee the publication project, particularly in light of the Foreign Secretary's view on publishing names.

19. There then followed a series of correspondence between the SIS, Cabinet Office, Home Office, FCO and Security Service between 23 April and 21 June about the establishment of the working group to oversee the publication project. It was agreed that the Intelligence Co-ordinator would chair the working group; the membership of the group was to be Cabinet Office, Home Office, FCO, SIS and Security Service; and the agenda was agreed for the first meeting, which was held on 28 June 1996.

20. At the first meeting of the working group, the SIS gave a briefing on Mr Mitrokhin, stating that Mr Mitrokhin's motivation (for defecting) was the publication of his material. The Security Service outlined the reporting on the UK. Responding to a question from the Co-ordinator about Mr Mitrokhin's information on known British cases, the Security Service representative thought that some of this could be interesting if published but there was little new information and nothing sensational or harmful; a great deal had already been published about these cases. The meeting also discussed the book's structure, copyright, SIS's reasons for publication and the countries (12) with whom material had been shared and who were aware of the publication project.

21. On the 15 July the SIS wrote to members of the working group, attaching Professor Andrew's proposed synopsis for the first book, and again on 18 September with the draft chapters 2-5.

22. On 4 November 1996 the Security Service wrote to the PUS at the Home Office to alert him to press reports (on 31 October) that M16 had passed the names of 300 French agents to the French authorities prior to the Home Secretary's meeting with his counterpart, M Pasqua. This note was passed to the Home Secretary on 6 November, who also had a meeting with the Director General of the Security Service that day in which the matter was discussed.

23. The second meeting of the working group took place on 12 November and the drafts of Professor Andrew were examined. The structure of the book was now changing to three volumes; the first covering espionage against the western allies, the second to cover KGB activity in the rest of the world and the third volume to be a lexicon of KGB operational terms. The SIS confirmed that while Professor Andrew had seen 60% of the material, he had only seen the historic cases contained in the UK material and that Security Service agreement would be sought before any further material was passed to him.

24. The working group met again on 10 March 1997. It discussed possible publicity due to the forthcoming trial of LIPKA and other leaks in the press. It was agreed that it was preferable to brief Ministers before the trial, rather than have to react to events and the Chairman, given the imminent UK election, recommended briefing incoming Ministers at an early stage. Also discussed were the issues concerning consultation with foreign services over the inclusion of material relating to their nationals/interests and the need to have a watertight legal contract with Professor Andrew.

25. On 23 October FCO officials wrote to the DUS, Kevin Tebbit, recommending that the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, be made aware of the Russian defector, Mr Mitrokhin, and of plans to publish some of his material. Mr Tebbit supported the submission and recommended that No. 10 be informed of the project. The submission was passed to the Foreign Secretary on 24 October, who agreed. On 2 December the Foreign Secretary's Private Secretary wrote to the Prime Minister's Private Secretary outlining the Mitrokhin story and publication project. After correspondence (8 and 22 December) considering Russia's possible reaction to publication, the Prime Minister gave authority for the project to go ahead as planned on 6 January 1998.

26. On 23 January 1998 the SIS passed to the Security Service the draft chapters 6-15, 17 and 20. On 2 February 1998 the Security Service wrote forcibly to the SIS, copied to the Intelligence Co-ordinator, complaining about a lack of information on the project in a number of specific areas, including the lack of a contract with Professor Andrew. SIS responded on 3 February, copied to the Intelligence Co-ordinator, to answer the specific points raised by the Security Service.

27. On 19 February Professor Andrew signed a legal agreement on publication with the SIS. On 15 June the Security Service wrote to the Intelligence Co-ordinator to inform him that they had cleared much of the material on the UK and passed it to Professor Andrew for inclusion in the UK chapter of the book. On 8 October the SIS wrote to the Intelligence Co-ordinator and the other members of the working group attaching a synopsis of the contents of the draft text of Volume I of the project. Also included in the letter was a record of the current status of the clearances given for the text by departments and foreign governments. The letter noted that further work was necessary on the UK chapters, which the Security Service had in hand, in particular work on HOLA (Melita Norwood).

28. In December 1998 the SIS told David Rose, who was working on a BBC documentary series about cold war espionage, that they might be able to provide him with material but that it would be dependent on Ministerial clearance for publication.

29. On 10 December Home Office officials minuted the Home Secretary, The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, and David Omand, the PUS about Mitrokhin, the publication project and the planned working group meeting in January 1999. The submission stated that "[Mr Mitrokhin's information] may also lead to the prosecution of an individual in the UK: an 86 year old woman who spied for the KGB 40 years ago. The Security Service are currently considering whether to recommend her prosecution." This was a reference to HOLA or Mrs Melita Norwood but not by code word or name. His Private Secretary confirmed that the Home Secretary saw the submission that day.

30. On 13 January the SIS sent members of the working group copies of the two draft chapters on the UK and the introductory chapter on Mr Mitrokhin. On the same day the Security Service, prompted by a question from the Home Office and in preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the working group, sent the Home Office some extracts from the UK chapters of the draft publication. These contained details on HOLA (Mrs Norwood), Michael John Smith and SCOT (John Symonds). Additionally, the Security Service stated that last year (1998) they had "reviewed their earlier decision not to approach HOLA. Our conclusion is that the decision taken at that time remains valid; because of HOLA's age and the lack of hard evidence against her, the chance, of a successful prosecution is negligible. Our legal advisor is currently consulting the Attorney General's office for confirmation of this view. The presentation of the HOLA story in Mr Mitrokhin's publication is likely to be the subject of further discussion."

31. The working group met on 15 January 1999 to discuss the publication project; the use of UK-related material, including Mrs Norwood; ***. The meeting was told that, due to press leaks, the SVR would doubtless be aware of the publication project and that a German journalist, who appeared to have accurate knowledge of the project, had contacted Professor Andrew. On the subject of Mrs Norwood, the meeting agreed that she should not be named and noted that the Security Service was obtaining advice on the question of prosecution. It was also noted "that there was likely to be some fuss over the lack of prosecution. The ISC [Intelligence and Security Committee] would probably take an interest, and that there could be Ministerial questions. It was agreed that the Security Service and Home Office would keep in close contact on the matter."

32. The meeting also agreed to circulate copies of all the draft chapters "to the Home Office, FCO and Cabinet Office, particularly as parts of the book would need to be cleared by the Home Secretary as well as the SOSFA (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs). The Prime Minister's authority might also be required."

33. On 25 February the SIS wrote to the Intelligence Co-ordinator, copied to the Security Service, informing him that the SIS had been in discussion with the journalist David Rose, who was planning a number of TV programmes. The SIS planned, subject to the Foreign Secretary's final authority for the publication, to co-operate with him on one of the programmes, with the aim of telling Mr Mitrokhin's story.

34. On 10 March the Security Service wrote to the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers (LSLO), seeking advice on the prosecution of Mrs Norwood. In the submission, the Security Service outlined Mr Mitrokhin's defection and material together with the information they had on Mrs Norwood. The Service had judged that police action in 1992 was inappropriate, "given in particular the age of the individual and the passage of time since her espionage activities" and the need to protect Mr Mitrokhin's security. The purpose of the submission was to "seek the Attorney General's view on whether it would be appropriate for action to be taken against the individual [Mrs Norwood] with a view to her prosecution." The LSLO replied on 22 March "that that [the decision in 1992 that police action was inappropriate] represented the last opportunity for the authorities to proceed by way of criminal investigation/prosecution. Accordingly there is no decision which he [the Attorney General] can properly be asked to take."

35. Also on 22 March 1999, the FCO wrote to the Foreign Secretary informing him that the text of the first volume was complete. The contents of the volume had been cleared with SIS'European partners and allied services, the FCO representative on the working group and HM Ambassadors in Rome and Warsaw. The submission stated that "The SIS wished to authorise the prospective UK and overseas publishers to begin work on the text... Publication is planned for September this year, and the SIS will be closely involved in the process... The Security Service are currently clearing the detail contained in those chapters [those concerning the KGB operations in the UK] with the Home Secretary (who was briefed on the project in 1998, and is supportive) and the Attorney General." The submission also stated that the "SIS' view [is] that this [publication] should be done in a controlled and unsensational manner", a view endorsed by FCO officials.

36. On 21 April the Foreign Secretary's Private Secretary wrote that the "Secretary of State is content with the proposed approach." On 27 April the SIS gave the BBC a redacted copy of Professor Andrew's synopsis of the book, together with the first chapter. Soon after that, the BBC was passed the majority of the text.

37. On 22 April in a submission to the Home Secretary, the Home Office updated the "progress towards the publication, planned to begin in September, of the revelations of a former senior KGB officer, now resident in the UK." The submission stated "There had been the question whether to prosecute an individual in the UK: an 86 year old woman who had spied for the KGB for 40 years. The Attorney General's office has now sent guidance that prosecution is now inappropriate. This is due to: her age, the lapse of time since her spying activities (mainly in the 1930s and 40s with intermittent contact with the KGB until the 70s), and the lapse of time since her activities became known (1992)." The submission continued "The SIS are presently seeking the Foreign Secretary's approval for publication in September of the first of two volumes of the JESSANT [Mr Mitrokhin] book". The submission recommended that the Home Secretary took note. On the 4 May the Home Secretary's Private Secretary wrote acknowledging that the Home Secretary had seen and noted the submission.

38. On 7 June the working group met and was updated on the situation. The group was told that the Foreign Secretary had approved the submission and that the Home Secretary was aware of the project. The group agreed that there should be further bilateral discussions between the Home Office and Security Service over the line to take on the decision not to prosecute HOLA, in view of the Attorney General's comments on the case. The group also agreed that HOLA should not be named as this was contrary to the terms of the original agreement. The Intelligence Co-ordinator agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary to update him on progress and the SIS told the group that the BBC were keen to devote a programme to Mr Mitrokhin's case, which would not use material which was not in the book. Additionally, the book would be serialised in the Times on 16-18 September. The working group agreed that draft possible press questions and lines to take would be prepared for discussion at a further meeting.

39. On the 24 June the SIS wrote to the Intelligence Co-ordinator and members of the working group to inform them that at a meeting with David Rose on 23 June, Rose had informed the SIS that his research team had identified Mrs Norwood. This was based on details in the book "The Haunted Wood", combined with his own efforts in Washington DC. Once he had Mrs Norwood's surname and initial, she had been traced through the London telephone book and electoral register. David Rose was proposing to interview her in early September.

40. On 25 June the Intelligence Co-ordinator wrote to the Cabinet Secretary informing him that the Foreign Secretary had cleared The Mitrokhin Archive for publication and that "Considerable publicity may be generated at the time of publication, with some criticisms of the actions of previous governments. One significant new British case may get earlier publicity. Defensive material is being prepared." The submission drew the Cabinet Secretary's attention to Mrs Norwood, that she had not been prosecuted and that the Attorney General had agreed that prosecution was not now possible. The submission stated that "The intention has been not to reveal HOLA's [Mrs Norwood] identity in the book but the BBC who are collaborating with Penguin (the publishers) have now correctly identified her from other sources of information; and they may be tempted to break the story before September".

41. The Intelligence Co-ordinator believed that it was not "necessary for the Prime Minister to be further involved in clearing the project but he and other Ministers will need to be reminded of publication nearer the time and given briefing against the likelihood of media and parliamentary interest. The Home Secretary is being briefed about the possible early publicity for HOLA [Mrs Norwood], and defensive material is being urgently prepared." The Cabinet Secretary forwarded the submission to the Prime Minister's Private Secretary, having highlighted the areas concerning HOLA, on 28 June. It was not shown to the Prime Minister.

42. On 29 June the Home Office wrote to the Home Secretary "An update on the JESSANT [Mr Mitrokhin] book, an alert of the potentially imminent public disclosure of the existence and identity of HOLA [Mrs Norwood], and the lines to take on the decision not to prosecute HOLA (Mrs Norwood]." The submission informed the Home Secretary that the Security Service's interest in Mrs Norwood had begun in 1933 and ended inconclusively in 1966. When the investigation had been re-opened in 1992 on receipt of Mr Mitrokhin's material, the Security Service had judged "that police action was inappropriate given the age of the individual and passage of time since her espionage." The submission then corrected the earlier submission (22 April) by accurately reflecting the Attorney General's view that there was no decision to make on prosecution, rather than that prosecution was inappropriate. The submission also contained the press lines to take, which the Home Secretary agreed on 6 July.

43. The working group met, without the Home Office and FCO representatives, on 19 July to discuss the implications from the naming of Mrs Norwood in the forthcoming book and the intentions of the BBC to interview her. The meeting agreed that ministerial guidance would be sought on whether the Security Service should interview Mrs Norwood before the BBC saw her, with the submission copied to both the Foreign Secretary and Attorney General.

44. Also on the 19 July 'C' wrote to the Cabinet Secretary, copied to the Private Secretaries to the Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Defence and the PUS in these departments, together with the Director General of the Security Service and Intelligence Co-ordinator. The letter outlined the SIS success with Mitrokhin and that the book was about to be published with agreement of UK departments, European partners and allied Services. The letter did not mention Mrs Norwood or any of the UK cases. The letter was copied to the Prime Minister's Private Secretary on 23 July.

45. On 20 July the Security Service wrote to the SIS. In the letter, the Security Service stated that Home Office officials had briefed the Home Secretary on Mrs Norwood and that they agreed that "the issue of Security Service contact with HOLA [Mrs Norwood] ... was an operational matter and not an issue on which the Home Secretary should become engaged." On 24 August the Security Service wrote to the LSLO, copied to the Home Office and SIS, informing them that the SIS had told the Service that during an interview with David Rose on 10 August, Mrs Norwood had confessed to being HOLA and that she specifically admitted working for the KGB. The Security Service asked the LSLO if the BBC interview affected the Attorney General's position of 22 March, i.e., that there was no decision for him to make.

46. On 31 August the Home Office wrote to the Home Secretary. In the submission it was stated that "The Cabinet Office, in discussion with the Agencies, had asked that you give guidance on whether the Security Service should see HOLA [Mrs Norwood] before the BBC could interview her - the Security Service were firmly against the idea. The Home Office had not been invited to the [working group] meeting [on 19 July] at which this was discussed and the note of the meeting was much delayed in coming to us". The submission continues by stating that the Security Service did not see Mrs Norwood but that the BBC interviewed her on 10 August, during which she admitted that she was HOLA. It also stated that the LSLO were being consulted to see if Mrs Norwood's admissions to the BBC changed the position on possible prosecution. Attached to the submission were revised press lines drawn up by the Home Office and FCO, together with the minutes of the 19 July working group meeting.

47. On the evening of 31 August the Chairman of the ISC had an informal meeting with 'C', during which he was briefed for the first time about Mr Mitrokhin and the publication project.

48. The working group met on I September to co-ordinate arrangements for press lines in advance of the JESSANT publicity. It was agreed at the meeting that the Intelligence Co- ordinator would brief the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, via the Cabinet Secretary, on The Mitrokhin Archive and other intelligence related publications due in the next few months.

49. The SIS told the meeting that the Chairman of the ISC had been informed of the publication project. The timetable for publicity was that in the week of the 13 September the Times would serialise the book and carry an interview with Mr Mitrokhin, on 19 September the BBC would show the interview with Mrs Norwood and the book would be published on 20 September. ABC and CBS (in the USA) and Radio 4 were also planning to cover the story. It was agreed that the FCO would co-ordinate the final press lines, which would be finalised by 8 September, and that Ministers should be advised to avoid, if possible, being interviewed for the 13 September Today and Newsnight programmes.

50. On 1 September the LSLO replied to the Security Service's letter of 24 August, stating that "In the Attorney General's view, the position is unaffected by the fact that an interview has been given, and the little that is known of that interview. Please revert to me once more in the unlikely event that you consider, following the broadcast, that the position has changed."

51. On 2 September 'C' wrote to the Chairman of the ISC, outlining the Mitrokhin story, the archive and the publication project. On 3 September the SIS sent the Clerk to the ISC a proof copy of the book and a summary of content. Also on 3 September the Director General of the Security Service wrote to the PUS at the Home Office, copied to the Cabinet Secretary, outlining the publication programme for the book and highlighting the two stories that might cause adverse publicity - Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds.

52. On 6 September the Home Secretary's Private Secretary confirmed that the Home Secretary has seen the submission of 31 August and the revised press lines provided by the Home Office Press Office.

53. On 9 September the Private Secretary to the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Private Secretaries of the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, together with officials in the Security Service, SIS, GCHQ and MOD. The letter outlined a number of forthcoming publications on intelligence matters, including the planned serialisation in the Times of The Mitrokhin Archive, the BBC programme and the publication of the book.

54. The submission highlights that the revelation that Mrs Norwood was a spy could cause difficulty and stresses that press lines have been prepared. The submission also advises Ministers not to accept bids to discuss Mr Mitrokhin's book. The Home Secretary did not see this submission until after 11 September.

55. Also on the 9 September, the Security Service wrote to LSLO outlining the offences that they believe Mr Symonds (SCOT) to have committed under the Official Secrets Act although there was no admissible evidence. The purpose of the letter was "to know whether the Attorney General considers it appropriate for there to be a police investigation with a view to Symonds'prosecution." The LSLO replied on 17 September that Symonds was granted immunity in 1984 but the Attorney General would wish to consider the content of any admissions made by Mr Symonds prior to making a decision in light of Mr. Symonds admissions to the BBC. 56. Additionally, the LSLO wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service on 20 September on HOLA, before the BBC broadcast, asking them for their view on:

a. would a court stay the proceedings in any event;

b. if the answer is no, what are the prospects of obtaining admissible evidence of offences by Mrs Norwood;

c. if a court would not stay the proceedings and the prospects of obtaining admissible evidence are reasonable, what are your views as to the public interest?

57. The answers to these questions were given in the Solicitor General's statement to the House of Commons on 20 December 1999, in that there was no prospect of mounting a successful prosecution.


ANNEX F - WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SIS

This is the written evidence of the SIS, taken from their response to the ISC Questionnaire.

1. In its acquisition and handling of The Mitrokhin Archive since 1992, SIS has been guided by the following policies:

(i) The Service's function under Section 1 (1) (a) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 is to obtain and provide information. One requirement for the intelligence laid on SIS by the JIC has been counter intelligence information about the Russian intelligence services. This was (and remains) a requirement, to which the Agencies are obliged to devote resources. Mitrokhin's information fell squarely within this requirement. Unprecedented in its scale, the material covers KGB efforts at espionage, sabotage and subversion in almost all significant countries, often in astonishing detail, and dating back in some cases to the immediate post-revolutionary period.

(ii) Regard for the obligation on SIS, which acts under the authority of the Foreign Secretary, to inform the Foreign Secretary of the day of significant operational developments and to seek his agreement, where appropriate, to SIS operational proposals.

(iii) Regard for the lead role of the Security Service in investigating and countering threats to British interests from espionage by foreign intelligence services. Accordingly all material from Mitrokhin containing prima facie evidence of actual or potential threats to British national security was provided by SIS to the Security Service for further action.

(iv) SIS's duty of care to Mitrokhin as an agent of the Service, including the duty to protect his security.

(v) Regard for SIS's role in passing information to intelligence allies and to friendly overseas liaison services, either in cases where reporting from Mitrokhin indicated prima facie evidence of hostile Russian intelligence activity in the countries concerned, or when SIS judged that the passage of information would contribute to an exchange of intelligence with a liaison partner. SIS's authority in passing information to its liaison partners derives from Section 2(l) of the ISA which gives the Chief of SIS the control of the Service's operations. Section 2(2)(a) obliges the Chief of SIS to ensure that no SIS information is disclosed except so far as necessary for various listed purposes. These include disclosure in the interests of national security. These interests are served by reciprocal exchanges of intelligence between liaison partners.

2. The Mitrokhin Archive deals with the external and internal activities of the KGB, and its predecessor organisations, between 1917 and 1984. The archive was passed by Mitrokhin to SIS in two tranches, in meetings in the Baltics in April and June 1992. It included ten 'chapters', in Russian typescript, documenting KGB external operations in different geographical theatres. These chapters covered: the US; the UK; Canada; ***.

***

(Material was not, however, completely compartmentalised by country: British material was, for example, contained in the US chapter, and vice versa.) The American chapter alone consisted of 800 pages of dense typescript. There were also two books of technical or procedural information, while a further 27 envelopes and 107 exercise books contained contemporaneous manuscript notes, based directly on Mitrokhin's reading of KGB files. One of these envelopes alone contained details of 645 KGB agents and contacts. The material had to be translated, and the manuscript notes in particular required Mitrokhin's assistance with reading, translation and interpretation.

3. Much of the material relating to the UK was collected in a single chapter which was passed to SIS by Mitrokhin in April 1992. This was first shared in 'raw', unprocessed, form with the Security Service in installments in the period up to 16 June 1992. It was primarily on the basis of this material and its bearing on counter-espionage cases already known to the Security Service that Mitrokhin's bona fides were assessed and confirmed. The material in the UK chapter was processed into individual reports by the Security Service for use, as appropriate, by their own investigating officers.

4. In the early stages, the highest priority was given to processing material bearing on UK and US interests. This was followed by material relating to other countries, and to the internal activities of the former KGB. The work of translation and processing was undertaken by SIS in the period 1992-98. The Security Service gave early assistance in translation work, and US agencies translated material relating to the USA. Mitrokhin's material - other than that contained in the UK chapter - was issued by SIS in the form of counter intelligence reports. Under established procedures for dissemination of counter intelligence reporting, these reports were copied as they were produced to the Security Service. SIS was also responsible for disseminating processed reporting bearing on the interests of the Intelligence Allies (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and of liaison partners in other countries.

5. For reasons of source protection, knowledge of Mitrokhin's contact with SIS was tightly controlled in the period leading up to his resettlement in the UK. Awareness of the case was, at that time, confined to a small circle of indoctrinated officers in SIS and the Security Service, and in the US intelligence community. Senior officials in the Cabinet Office, the FCO and the Home Office were briefed in this period, as the need to do so arose.

6. After Mitrokhin's resettlement, the existence of his information remained on a strict ,need to know' basis for some time, in order to minimise the chance of leakage and the risk that the Russians might take prophylactic action to rescue active or former agents who were under investigation in the UK and elsewhere as a result of leads provided by Mitrokhin.


ANNEX G - WHAT HAPPENED IN THE
SECURITY SERVICE

This is the written evidence of the Security Service, taken from the Director General's letter to Committee.

1. The information from The Mitrokhin Archive concerning the spy HOLA reached the Security Service's spy investigation section in June 1992. It confirmed the conclusion that the Service had reached in 1966 following its investigation of the VENONA decrypt intelligence into the spy TINA, viz that Melita Norwood had spied for the Soviet Union, in particular in providing atomic reactor information in the immediate post war period.

2. The Mitrokhin material provided some additional details, including about a civil servant codenamed "HUNT" who was said to have been recruited by Norwood to work for the KGB in 1967. "HUNT's" intelligence was reported to be regarded as of low value by the KGB.

3. Following receipt of the Mitrokhin material HOLA was assessed as a Category B case (a significant case but no current or recent damage) and assigned to a desk officer to investigate. Initial enquiries surfaced the Service's earlier investigations, indicated that Mrs Norwood was still alive and showed that she had still been a member of the pro- Soviet Communist Party of Britain as recently as 1991. It was noted that *** had not heard of the case.

4. Although The Mitrokhin Archive had a garbled name, enquiries into "HUNT" identified him as a junior civil servant, who had worked *** on unclassified work. He had died ***.

5. During 1992 and the first months of 1993 there was a clear understanding that the Mitrokhin material needed to be subject to restrictive handling procedures to protect Mitrokhin's security and the international handling of his spy leads. This meant that it could not, for that period, be used as the basis for an interview of a suspect. As the only realistic way in the HOLA case of turning the intelligence in the archive, and the other information in the Service's possession, into evidence that could be used in court was to interview Mrs Norwood, such an interview had to wait until well into 1993 until those sensitivities had reduced.

6. At that point the HOLA desk officer consulted the Service's Legal Adviser about the case and a possible interview. The latter advised that the Mitrokhin intelligence was not evidence and would very probably not be admissible in the UK courts. He though that there was little prospect of a prosecution. Mrs Norwood remained a hard-line Communist and was unlikely to incriminate herself at interview. Moreover, she was extremely elderly and the actions for which she might face charges had taken place nearly 50 years ago. To pursue her now that the Cold War was over might open the Service up to criticism for having harassed an old lady.

7. Given this internal advice, which was not referred externally to the Law Officers as it should have been, the section decided not to pursue an interview of Mrs Norwood at that stage. However, the case was not closed to investigation. This was because of its historic significance and because the section management judged that opportunities for further action might arise in future.

8. Pressure of work on other Mitrokhin cases and on Stasi and other leads, however, resulted in this case slipping out of sight of the investigators and no further action was taken on it between November 1993 and August 1998, when it resurfaced in connection with The Mitrokhin Archive publication project. At that stage, and in the light of changed perceptions of the significance of espionage in the post Cold War world, the possibility of an interview was re-examined. Such an interview would have aimed to gather evidence relevant to a prosecution, not intelligence about Mrs Norwood's past, about which the Service was already well informed.

9. The first step towards an interview was to establish whether Mrs Norwood would be capable of responding meaningfully to questions given her age. This was not straightforward, but eventually a covert means was found to establish that she was. However, it was decided to defer a final decision on an interview until the case had been put to the Law Officers, as it should have been in 1992/93.

10. In the light of the Law Officers' view that a prosecution could no longer be considered, it was concluded that no useful purpose would be served by an interview and the idea was dropped. It was reconsidered briefly in the summer of 1999 in the light of JESSANT Working Group discussion of whether Mrs Norwood should be seen. It was agreed at official level with the Home Office that this was a matter for the Service, and it was concluded by the Service that, since evidence gathering was no longer an issue, contact with Mrs Norwood would serve no useful national security purpose.


ANNEX H - SECURITY SERVICE PROCEDURES
FOR HANDLING INVESTIGATIVE LEADS

This is the written evidence of the Security Service, taken from their response to the ISC Questionnaire.

1. In the Security Service, when leads to spies, agents, confidential contacts, etc are received from whatever source, cases are allocated to staff taking into account factors such as the complexity of the case and workloads. Existing leads are always re-checked to determine whether they may be relevant to new investigations. Since 1991, a computerised database with field and free text search capability has facilitated this. It contains all leads and cases going back to the early 1970s. New leads, progress achieved in investigations and outcomes are all recorded.

2. As there are at any one time a large number of leads, new cases are categorised so that appropriate attention is given to the most important. During the period that the leads identified in the Mitrokhin material were being received, they were divided into four categories. Judgements were either made or endorsed by senior staff. The categories were:

Category A
A major investigation into a lead assessed as likely to involve serious and continuing damage probably involving the continuous loss of classified information. Only *** of the Mitrokhin cases were accorded this priority. ***

***

Category B

A significant investigation into a lead assessed as likely to involve damage at some stage including a loss of classified information. NORWOOD was in this category.

Category C

An investigation into a lead of limited security significance, in which the national interest and classified information did not appear to have been at risk.

Category D

An investigation into a lead of marginal security significance. This category allowed enquiries to be made into incomplete or imprecise leads to determine whether more detailed investigation would be justified.

3. Most of the new cases in the Mitrokhin material fell into Categories C and D. Many others referred to individuals who had already been prosecuted or who were dead. In some instances, the material received was obscure or confusing. In those cases, the Service referred back to SIS for Mitrokhin to provide clarification if possible. Often he was unable to add detail as he was not directly involved in the cases. But his ability to reinterpret his notes was useful. 4. Cases were moved between categories in the light of developments. As investigations progressed, advice was sought from the Service's in house lawyers. For all categories, an understandably strict 'need to know'and very tight restrictions on investigative action operated in relation to the Mitrokhin material for most of the first year. A gradual relaxation then occurred over time influenced by the need to take into account parallel requests for action from overseas liaisons. Nevertheless the Service retained close 'need to know'controls within the Service on its own investigations. Where those investigations continue, the controls remain.

5. A formal process was (and remains) in place for closing investigations. This always involved the head of the section concerned or his deputy and sometimes the Service's in house lawyers. Cases are closed either because they have been resolved or because it is impossible to make progress towards resolution as a result of the nature of the lead information and/or the results of investigation thus far.

6. In addition to the categorisation system and regular discussions between managers and their staff on progress in the casework, a formal case review system operates. This provides for a six monthly re-evaluation of all current casework by management in the section. Also a weekly discussion between the Head of the section and the Director covers progress in the higher priority cases and the most important developments are referred to the Director General and Deputy Director General. Management information systems provide a further check on the performance of the section in handling its investigations.

7. These procedures have existed for many years, being refined and adjusted from time to time, for instance when Oleg Gordievsky was firstly run as a source in the London KGB Residency and then handled as a resettled agent. The speed at which the Service investigated leads, however, varied with the resources available for the work. The procedures for handling investigative leads have continued to evolve post Mitrokhin to incorporate refinements designed to give priority to important cases. The system described above was expanded in 1994, to allow more effective handling of 'aftercare' of spies who had served prison sentences and other old cases where new, although not usually investigative, work was required. The system was further reviewed in 1997, to allow for greater priority to be given to cultivation cases, which could lead to damage. All these changes were designed to manage a volume of leads that exceeded the resources available by ensuring that cases where damage might be continuing were handled first. Further changes are being made in the light of recent events.


ANNEX I - STANDARD PRACTICE FOR
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION ABOUT
INVESTIGATIONS IN THE SECURITY SERVICE

This is the written evidence of the Security Service, taken from their response to the ISC Questionnaire.

1. In investigations into alleged or possible espionage in government departments or agencies, work is carried out in close conjunction with relevant officials. When it is clear that there is a possibility of offences against the Official Secrets Act by a known individual, both Law Officers and the police will be involved.

2. The Home Secretary is briefed on active investigations where there is, or may be, continuing damage. He will be aware of a broader range of investigations than the Law Officers, for example when there is information that classified material has been, or is being, compromised to a foreign power but there is no one person identified as having passed that material. In addition, although ad hoc briefings took place before 1995, since then the Service has briefed the Cabinet Secretary more formally on the main espionage cases. This arrangement was extended to the PUS/Home Office in 1997 and explicitly to the Home Secretary in 1998.


ANNEX J - SECURITY SERVICE ASSESSMENT
OF MRS NORWOOD

This is the written evidence of the Security Service, taken from the Director General's letter to the Committee.

1. Mrs Norwood was issued with a vetting clearance in 1945 when she was secretary to the Chairman of British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association (BN-FMRA). The clearance was revoked in 1951 but her access was effectively terminated in 1949 when the company's classified contract ended.

2. Information taken from *** and discussions with ***   *** have led to the conclusion that in the 1940s BN-FMRA:s contract for Tube Alloys (and subsequently the Ministry of Supply) was not directly weapons-related and involved work only on very specialised and limited metallurgical investigations connected with reactor technology.

3. Elements of BN-FMRN's classified work related to fuel performance (e.g., spectrographic analysis of uranium) and post-irradiation corrosion resistance but the main research was connected with the choice of fuel cladding, otherwise known as 'canning' (the development of a metal sleeve to encase the uranium fuel; a sheath that would protect uranium from water corrosion, keep fission products out of the water, transmit heat from the uranium to the water and not absorb too many neutrons). ***  ***  ***

Although there had been a joint US/UK programme to develop the atomic bomb, the UK had been refused access to information about America's reactor technology and was excluded from Hanford. The UK was forced to develop its own reactor and 'canning' designs and, in both cases, adopted a different method from the US. The first Soviet reactor was a carbon copy of the American pile rather than the British version.

4. In August 1945 the US Government issued the Smyth Report: A General Account of the Development of Methods Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes under the Auspices of the United States Government 1940-1945. The Russian translation was published early in 1946 in an edition of 30,000 and distributed widely to scientists and engineers in the Soviet project. Along with the information from spies, it exercised an important influence on the technical choices made in the Soviet programme. Warned by the Report that the ,canning' problem was difficult to resolve, the scientist leading the Soviet atomic bomb project organized research at the beginning of 1946 in four different institutes on methods of sealing the fuel rods. The Soviet scientists adopted the US method of using aluminium jackets, which was partially described in the Smyth report, duplicating the successful American version either as a result of their own research or, more probably, through espionage. In the latter case, the Soviet source could not have been British because the UK did not have details of the US 'canning' design. It is possible that some aspects of BN-FMRA's work on 'canning' (related only to cladding in the UK/Windscale pile and not the US/Hanford reactor) might have helped Soviet scientists overcome specialised problems they encountered in translating the American design into reality. However, the assistance would have been of marginal significance in the overall design and development of the Soviet programme, at most saving the Soviet Union a matter of a few weeks in research and development time.

5. Through espionage, the Soviet Union obtained widespread coverage of the US/UK atomic bomb programme from 1941 until the detonation of the first Soviet bomb in 1949. Fortner Soviet intelligence officers have claimed, probably accurately, that they were able to obtain details of all aspects of the development of the atomic bomb from sources working within the projects. Almost all the sources working for the KGB and GRU were volunteers, often with communist backgrounds, who believed that information about such a destructive weapon should be shared with the Soviet Union. There were some *** sources reporting on developments in both the US and UK; the most serious and damaging were Klaus Fuchs and the American, Theodore Hall, who between them passed information about the design of the first US plutonium bomb which was sufficiently detailed to provide Soviet scientists with a blueprint for replicating its manufacture. The first Soviet atomic bomb in 1949 was in fact an exact replica of the American design.

6. Soviet scientists copied the US designs on both pile production and 'canning' information not available to the UK (nor, therefore, to BN-FMRA and Mrs Norwood). Soviet intelligence had good sources in the USA reporting on reactor construction and metallurgical developments. These sources included agents working in the du Pont company, which was responsible for the construction of the plutonium plant at Hanford, and in the Metallurgical Laboratory at Chicago, which researched various issues relevant to the development of the Hanford piles.

7. BN-FMRA's research, and therefore the material which Mrs Norwood could have provided to the Russians, was limited in scope and specifically related to the underpinning technology relevant to the choice of fuel cladding in the UK reactor and post-irradiation corrosion resistance. Such information was not connected with the chemical separation of plutonium after irradiation of uranium in the piles, nor to the physics design or the construction of the piles themselves nor, indeed, to weapons design or construction. Thus her value as an atom spy to the scientists who constructed the Soviet bomb must have been, at most, marginal.


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[9 pages.]

Government Response to the
Intelligence and Security
Committee's Report into the
Security and Intelligence Agencies'
handling of the information
provided by Mr Mitrokhin

Presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister
by Command of Her Majesty


June 2000

Cm 4765                                                                                                   £2.10


GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE
INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE'S
REPORT INTO THE SECURITY
AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES' HANDLING
OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED
BY MR MITROKHIN

1. The Government is very grateful to the Intelligence and Security Committee (the Committee) for the report of its inquiry into the Intelligence and Security Agencies' handling of the information provided by Vasili Mitrokhin. The Committee was thorough in its inquiry. It examined over thirty witnesses and took a large amount of written evidence. In view of the public interest in the issues which arose from the publication of The Mitrokhin Archive, the Government agreed that the Committee could exceptionally also examine copies of the relevant original documents held in the files of the Agencies and Departments. The Committee examined advice given to Ministers of both the current and previous administration. In accordance with the normal conventions, papers of the previous administration have not been seen by present Ministers.

2. The Committee pays tribute to the outstanding intelligence work, which Mr Mitrokhin's exfiltration from Russia with his material represents, and the Agencies' success thereafter in exploiting the material for counter-espionage purposes, not just in this country but across the world where the KGB had been operating. The Government fully shares this view. Mr Mitrokhin's material led to over 3,500 counter-intelligence reports being passed to 36 countries. The security with which these extensive leads were handled was very high and demonstrated an excellent level of international co-operation. Although there were some leaks in other countries, as the Committee noted, these were modest in comparison to the very large amount of valuable information made available and no damage was done.

3. One of the key messages in the Mitrokhin material was that the Russian intelligence services have for many years found the United Kingdom an extremely difficult intelligence target and country in which to operate. It has been the policies of successive governments, underpinned by the effective work of the security and intelligence Agencies, which has created this satisfactory position. In particular Mr Mitrokhin's material demonstrates the success of the work of the Security Service especially after the expulsions of Soviet intelligence officers in 1971. The Government pays tribute to that important work.

4. The Committee recognised that Mr Mitrokhin's motivation in coming to the UK was to see his information published. Both the present and previous administrations needed to balance this reasonable wish with the need, first, to exploit the material for counter- espionage purposes and, secondly, to ensure that the material was properly understood and not used in a damaging or unfair way. The publication project which led to The Mitrokhin Archive was the result. The Government welcomes the Committee's recognition that Professor Christopher Andrew was a good choice to undertake the work of collaboration with Mr Mitrokhin. The Government believes that The Mitrokhin Archive represents a clear and long-lasting testimony to Mr Mitrokhin's brave work to expose the role of the KGB within the Soviet system.

The ISC's Conclusions and Recommendations

5. Dealing with each of the Committee's conclusions and recommendations:

A. Carrying the initial contact with Mr Mitrokhin right through to his and his family's successful exfiltration together with all his material represents a major achievement by SIS. In addition the management of the material and its dissemination, as appropriate, to foreign liaison services was well handled. The Committee wish to pay tribute to this outstanding piece of intelligence work.
The Government endorses the tributes paid by the Committee to the intelligence work which led to the UK gaining access to the notes made by Mr Mitrokhin during his time as a KGB archivist. The acquisition of this unique archive of counter-intelligence material was of great significance, particularly to our overseas allies.
B. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mrs Norwood's case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. This failure to consult the Law Officers resulted in the decision whether or not to prosecute Mrs Norwood effectively being taken by the Security Service. The Committee is concerned that the Service used public interest reasons to justify taking no further action against Mrs Norwood, when this was for the Law Officers to decide. We also believe that the failure of the Security Service to interview Mrs Norwood at this time prevented her possible prosecution.

C. The Committee is concerned that Mrs Norwood's case "slipped out of sight" between 1993 and 1998. The Committee believes that Mrs Norwood's case should have been kept under review during this period. This was a further serious failure by the Security Service.

The Government accepts the Committee's conclusions on the case of Mrs Norwood. Immediately following the publication of The Mitrokhin Archive the Government acknowledged, as did the Director General of the Security Service, that there had been in this case a failure of process by the Security Service in 1993. The allegations made in the book about Mrs Norwood are serious, although the Committee's report notes that her activities were not as significant as was suggested last year. This was a case that had been well known to the Security Service for many years and about which a previous Government had been briefed. Nevertheless, the information provided by Mr Mitrokhin shed new light on the case and Ministers should have been made aware of it. These matters should at the time have been put to the Law Officers, who are responsible for deciding whether or not such cases can and should be prosecuted.
The Government also acknowledges the Committee's concern that the case of Mrs Norwood was not kept under review. The Director General of the Security Service has made clear his regret that the system for internal review did not ensure that management attention continued to be given to this case. Steps have been taken to ensure that such an error should not recur. The Government notes however that counter- espionage resources had been reduced after the Cold War and, at the end of 1992-93, the Security Service was also responding to significant new responsibilities in countering the threat from Irish Terrorist groups. Thus, there were limited resources available at that time to deal with more than two hundred UK leads revealed in the Mitrokhin papers, including the case of Mrs Norwood While many of those leads were to cases already known to the Security Service, some needed active investigation because of the risk of continuing damage. In these circumstances, the Security Service judged that the investigation of leads to current espionage, where damage was or might be continuing, was more important than an old case where there was no continuing damage.
D. We are concerned that it took over three months to consult the Law Officers after Mrs Norwood's case was raised in 1998. The Committee also questions the basis on which the Security Service took the decision not to interview Mrs Norwood prior to her name being made public by the BBC. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mrs Norwood, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

E. The Committee believes that it was a serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mr Symonds' case to the Law Officers in mid 1993. We are concerned that it took over 9 months to consult the Law Officers after he was identified in the draft book. We believe that the Service could have interviewed Mr Symonds, at least for the intelligence and historical record.

The Government notes the Committee's conclusions. The Security Service's view was that no useful purpose would have been served by an interview with Mrs Norwood or Mr Symonds. Mr Symonds had already been granted an immunity from prosecution by the time Mr Mitrokhin's material became available. The Mitrokhin papers show that the KGB itself did not trust him. In making judgements on his case, the Security Service had the benefit of the earlier views of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police that he could not be taken seriously.
F. When the authority to start the publication project was sought in 1996, Mrs Norwood had "slipped out of sight" of the Security Service. The Director General of the Security Service did not know about Mrs Norwood and Mr Symonds and she was therefore unable to brief the PUS at the Home Office, Richard Wilson, or the Home Secretary, Michael Howard. As far as she was concerned the main Mitrokhin related leads had been followed up. This meant that when Michael Howard was made aware of the publication project, both he and Richard Wilson were unsighted on Mrs Norwood and any potential controversy within the UK material.

G. While the Committee believes that the establishment of the Interdepartmental Working Group to handle matters was a sound decision, the group failed fully to brief senior officials and ministers because it was likewise unaware of the significance of this UK material until late 1998.

The Government accepts the Committee's conclusions.
H. The Committee believes that the October 1997 submission to the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, should have included the Rifkind criteria for naming individuals. We believe that the submission could have done so within the rules governing the disclosure of information on previous administrations.
The Government accepts that officials could have drawn the substance of Sir Malcolm Rifkind's conditions to the present Foreign Secretary's attention without breaching the conventions governing the disclosure of views of previous Ministers of a different administration.
I. The submission sent to the Foreign Secretary on 22 March 1999 requested authorisation to proceed with publication. It stated that the "Security Service are clearing the detail contained in those chapters [on the UK] with the Home Secretary (who was briefed on the project in 1998, and is supportive) and the Attorney General." This was not accurate. The Committee believes that it was a failing of the system that allowed the Foreign Secretary, under the false impression that the Home Secretary had been consulted, to authorise the publication of a book containing allegations about spies in the UK who had not been prosecuted by the Security Service.
The Government notes the Committee's conclusion. There was an inadvertent breakdown in interdepartmental communications in relation to submissions to the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary in the early months of 1999. The Government regrets this lapse from which lessons have been learned.
J. The Committee believes that the Security Service and Home Office in particular failed to ensure that working group decisions were carried out, noting that on two occasions the Home Secretary was not consulted in the manner the working group had agreed.
The Government accepts that there were gaps in communication which led to misunderstandings on action which had been or could have been taken. The Government regrets these lapses.
K. The Committee believes that the above points were serious failures by officials either to inform ministers of the true situation or to ensure that agreed actions were being carried out. The working group also failed to ensure that the Rifkind criteria were met. These failures by officials, some at senior level, caused Ministers to make decisions on the basis of incorrect information.
The Government regrets that there were breakdowns in communications amongst officials. As noted above, lessons have been learned.

As the Committee has recognised, Sir Malcolm Rifkind's criteria for naming those targeted by the KGB were not the basis on which the present Government agreed to the continuation of the publication project. Even so the concerns which they reflected were actively considered by the Interdepartmental Working Group.

The conditions which the present Government set down for the continuation of the publication project were designed to ensure that no intentionally damaging material, nor uncorroborated or controversial information was published about British citizens. Recommendations on the inclusion of names in the book were made by the Interdepartmental Working Group, not by any single Department. The alleged KGB connection of many of those named in the book had already been discussed in public. Mr Symonds had publicly claimed a KGB connection some years previously.

The decision to allow Mrs Melita Norwood to be named in The Mitrokhin Archive, although she had not admitted to any connection with the KGB, stemmed from her having been identified by the BBC and the Government's knowledge that her name and connection were going to be put into the public domain before the book's publication. It was clear from that point that no useful purpose would be served by seeking to prevent Professor Andrew and Mr Mitrokhin, and their publishers, from naming Mrs Norwood in the book.

L. The Committee believes that the Interdepartmental Working Group, as constituted, was not adequate to develop the necessary media strategy and ensure that publication was in a controlled and unsensationalised manner. The group were unable to alert ministers in a timely manner to the key issues and to provide them with appropriate and robust lines to take.

M. The Committee believes that misleading stories were allowed to receive wide circulation by a failure to anticipate the likely media focus and to have prepared and promulgated appropriate responses.

The Government accepts that the preparations for handling the publicity surrounding The Mitrokhin Archive were ineffective. Officials recognised that there would be considerable public interest and that the Government's normal and entirely proper refusal to comment on intelligence-related matters would not be adequate. The implications of non-prosecution of Mrs Norwood were not sufficiently worked through. In consequence there was inadequate preparation of responses for the reaction and interest which arose in the media and Parliament.
N. The Committee believes that these matters were of such a significance that they required regular briefing of ministers. Additionally, whilst the situation is certainly more complex when briefing a new minister, careful consideration is needed on exactly when to brief ministers on sensitive material such as The Mitrokhin Archive.
The Government agrees on the need to ensure that Ministers are fully briefed on issues which have continuing significance and on which decisions are needed. It also agrees that careful thought needs to be given to the timing of such briefing.
O. The Committee recommends that the hand-over briefing for Permanent Under Secretaries should include any sensitive material of possible continuing interest, on which the previous Permanent Under Secretary had been briefed. This should assist in preventing information lying dormant and unknown within the department.
The Government accepts the need to ensure that on coming into a new post both Ministers and senior officials are appropriately briefed on issues which will be of continuing significance and on which they may need to reach a view, whilst noting that careful judgement needs to be applied to prioritisation of issues. Emerging or re-emerging issues will be brought to the attention of Ministers and senior officials in the usual way, as decisions are required.
P. The Committee believes that the sharing of Mr Mitrokhin's material with foreign liaison by the SIS was in a proper and controlled manner.

The Government notes the Committee's conclusion.

Q. Whilst the Committee recognises the difficulties the SIS has in ensuring that foreign liaison services afford material sufficient protection, it is concerned that material was compromised in a way that could have been damaging to the SIS and UK.
The Government notes the Committee's conclusion. Counter-intelligence reports, such as those derived from Mr Mitrokhin's material, are passed to friendly governments to help them maintain their national security and to support criminal or other investigations. As in this case, liaison services are asked to abide by a number of clearly stated handling controls, the primary aim of which is to ensure protection of the source of the information.
R. The Committee believes that it would have been advisable and could have been beneficial for the Agencies and Government to inform us earlier than they did about the publication project. The Committee recommends that in future the Committee be notified as soon as it is reasonably possible when material, particularly potentially controversial material, is being placed in the public domain.
The Government accepts that the Committee should have been informed once the decision had been taken to proceed with the publication project.


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