In the Middle of Spying Scandal, Scotland Yard Gives Up on Another One

I’ll be honest. I’ve been thinking about Gareth Williams — the GCHQ spy found dead in a duffle bag in his safe house — since the Snowden leaks started. With each new disclosure, especially about GCHQ (though remember that Williams also worked with NSA closely on busting the liquids plot), I’ve wondered, “Is this the new spying effort that got Williams expertly killed?”

Which is why I find it so interesting that Scotland Yard chose today to announce — to much incredulity on both sides of the Atlantic — that he killed himself by accident.

His spy background and the fact that expensive, unworn women’s clothes were found at his flat provoked a wide range of “weird and wonderful” theories, London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said, but further investigations now suggested it was more likely he had not been murdered.

“Most probably, it was an accident,” Hewitt told reporters. “I’m convinced that Gareth’s death was in no way linked to his work.”


Hewitt denied suggestions Britain’s spies had simply staged an elaborate cover-up.

“I do not believe I have had the wool pulled over my eyes.”

Just as an example, would any of the OPEC countries NSA and GCHQ hacked have reason to be particularly sensitive about it? There were past allegations Russian organized crime did him in — and I pointed out that those claims resembled an application of Gauss which reported tracked Lebanese bank data. Did some other financial institution catch him stealing their data? Did he catch someone stealing other data?

In any case, Williams’ death is a reminder that it wasn’t so outlandish when Snowden suggested he might be murdered for having leaked intelligence.

12 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    The comments at SFGate were questioning the conclusion Scotland Yard reached.
    Yeah, right: he climbed into a duffel bag in a bathtub, locked it, and somehow left no fingerprints anywhere. You don’t need to be in law enforcement to see that that’s as much of a suicide as shooting yourself three times in the back.

  2. orionATL says:

    @P J Evans:

    that comment is right up there with:

    “P J Evans on November 13, 2013 at 10:59 am said:

    That amendment doesn’t apply to this situation. As you damned well should know.”


  3. ess emm says:

    Snowden’s docs are important stuff. Now that you been given your trove please be vigilant with your OpSec, ew.

  4. Phil Perspective says:

    Why would London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt make himself look like a complete jackass in front of the public? It’s obvious there is a lot more to this story. It sure would be interesting of the Russian mob took him out. Talk about a security lapse at MI6.

  5. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    Funny how having haypiled every electronic communication, these wizards can’t actually solve what appear to be fairly basic crimes. Who else was in the room? Who was he talking to? What were the conversations about?

    We have this perverse situation where all the evidence is in the haystack but blind freddy is looking in the birdhouse for clues and reporting that there are none.

    I also have to say, extending this idea, why are we not able to use the haystack for other dubious activities;
    – who has Feinstein talked to and been with in the last few months
    – what collusion has been discussed between the 5-ayes (not a typo)
    – what have Merkel phone taps revealed about her real objective (a 6th-aye)
    – what deal is France doing with Saudi Arabia,
    – and on and on and on.

    Many of the worlds ills could be resolved in a few weeks if the real corrupt and terrorist conversations contained in the haystack were revealed.

    Snowden leaked the W5 metadata (who, what, where, when, why) of surveillance but it is about time someone leaked the actual content.

    These bastards should be exposed and feel what it is like to have their most intimate details assessed by the masses.

    And remember, content IS the HAYSTACK that they must be shit scared will be copied and dumped – it is a trivial task in some ways. Who needs the entire haystack if the total electronic communications of a few key players was packaged into nice little hay bales and leaked.

    Let me see;

    Obama, yup, and Bush, Cheney, Patreaus, Hayden, Feinstein, Alexander, Rogers, Holder, Hague, Cameron, Merkel, Netanyahu, Putin, Hollande, how about a few Banksters, and then of course there’s Geitner, and why not throw in a few leaks of content about Rep. King, or hey maybe HRC, wouldn’t that be fun. Help me out here, who else do we want to see exposed?

    These jerks who think that surveillance is all wonderful would absolutely shit themselves if their content was dumped, and one day it may well be. Snowden was an intro to what a real leaker can expose.

    The haystack is a usb drive away from bursting into a flaming inferno.

    The one thing the Stasi never anticipated was that the content of their surveillance would be made public and turned against them.

    The haystack will one day be visible to all and then won’t we laugh at the naked emperors.

  6. P J Evans says:

    I keep a copy of the Constitution handy for things like that. Being able to cite section and paragraph can be useful with know-it-all trolls.

  7. reliably says:

    How incredible is it that these so-called ‘investigators’ can turn up random CCTV video of Gareth Williams at the Holland Park tube station yet not have any idea what happened to him inside an MI6 safe house?

    Also, Williams was reportedly unhappy with his posting at MI6 and had requested to return to GCHQ. Given his recent stint with NSA, it’s possible that Williams was seen as or known to be a potential whistleblower on the activities he’d witnessed or participated in at MI6/NSA.

    Whatever the case, MI6 lacked motivation and/or inclination to check in on Williams at his secure pied a terre when Williams failed to show up for work. For over a week.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Killed himself by accident”? Kim Philby, James Jesus Angleton and the murderers expert in the use of polonium must be laughing themselves silly.

  9. tom says:

    The thing that struck me was the first officer on the scene reporting the heat full on in August, no smell whatsoever from the body after a week in a warm enclosed space (compare to 2nd day Philippines photos), and the red fluid (not blood, never identified) oozing towards the drain.

    He had 4 iPhones for unexplained reasons but it seems zero followup was done on their contact lists or usage GHCQ supposedly retains full content of all UK calls for 30 days, with the phone numbers and owner name making ideal selectors.

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