November 13, 2013 / by emptywheel


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.

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