5 Sep 2010

The policeman who found the body of MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams said it was submerged in ‘fluid’, The Mail on Sunday has learned.An inquest heard last week that the 31-year-old spy was padlocked in a sports hold-all and left in the bath of his two-bedroom flat in Pimlico, Central London.But the disclosure that he was also covered by liquid – not thought to be blood or water – has raised fears that a substance was used to accelerate decay and complicate toxicology tests.

The revelation came as new details emerged of the highly sensitive nature of Mr Williams’s work.A source said he had the highest security clearance available to an intelligence officer and was part of a secretive ‘cell’ that created devices that can steal data from mobiles and laptops.

Now, nearly two weeks after cycling enthusiast Mr Williams was found in his flat, police are apparently no nearer to learning how or when he died.This is despite a post-mortem, a second examination and toxicology tests, the results of which might not be available for weeks.

Sources close to the inquiry say the PC who found the body described it as being in ‘fluid’ when he radioed for assistance. Detectives at the scene are understood to have used the same word in their reports.Immediately after making the discovery at the flat, the PC said: ‘This is a murder scene.’

Mr Williams, from Anglesey, North Wales, worked as a cipher and codes expert for the Government’s eavesdropping centre GCHQ in Cheltenham.He was on a year-long secondment to MI6 which was due to end days after he was found dead.Police and security sources have indicated that the explanation for his death is more likely to be found in his personal life rather than his work.

But speculation that he was the victim of a professional ‘hit’ was given credence last night after further details of his work were disclosed.‘He was involved in some very sensitive projects, known as codeword protected,’ said a security expert.‘This meant that only the people in his cell would know what he was working on, and nobody else in his organisation.

‘You are signed in to these projects and once you finish one you are signed out and you no longer have access to any data or news about what is happening in the project.’Mr Williams – a child prodigy who had a degree in maths at 17 and then a PhD in the subject – was part of a team that created devices which ‘hook’ on to mobiles and laptops. ‘It is an aggressive form of Bluetooth or similar wireless technology,’ said the security expert.

He said such devices would be used by spies on the ground to steal data from the handsets of unsuspecting terrorists, organised criminals or officers from rival intelligence agencies.‘Traditionally, there has been a separation of MI6 and GCHQ,’ said the expert. ‘MI6 has been full of the James Bond types working on the ground and GCHQ is filled with boffins with beards who are doing their scientific stuff. ‘But recently there has been a merger of these agencies’ work and Williams was at the forefront of that. This was why he was on secondment to MI6.’

He added that Mr Williams did similar work when he had stints at the National Security Agency in America.The NSA is the equivalent of GCHQ and has been leading the West’s attempts to intercept communication between Al Qaeda cells. Mr Williams worked for the Special Delivery Team, a unit set up in the NSA to create advanced bugging and intercepting devices.

‘If you just look at Williams’s CV, you know he has worked in some of the most important data-mining centres in the UK and US. His salary is no indication of his rank,’ said the expert.

It has also emerged that before his secondment to MI6, Mr Williams worked briefly for MI5, the domestic security agency. As part of that work, he was sent to Bulgaria on a secret mission.A source close to the investigation said that on August 23 police were asked to check on Mr Williams’s flat as he had not shown up for work. Just before 6pm, a PC went to the Georgian townhouse in Alderney Street, which has been converted into four flats on four floors. Mr Williams had the top one.

The PC could not get into the house so the letting agent, W.  A. Ellis, was called and a woman employee arrived with keys.She hovered at Mr Williams’s door as the PC went inside. Within minutes he emerged quickly from the en suite bathroom and escorted the woman back downstairs. He then told her: ‘You stay here. This is now a murder scene.’

This weekend, staff at W. A. Ellis, of Knightsbridge, refused to confirm details.A spokeswoman said: ‘36 Alderney Street is owned by a private company, New Rodina.‘There has been speculation that it is linked to MI6 or that it is a front for MI6. Our clients do not have any links to MI6 whatsoever and are distressed by the death of Mr Williams.’

SOURCE: Daily Mail

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