03 March 2006

Michael John Smith’s police interview after arrest

After I was arrested on 8 August 1992 I was subjected to 4 days of intensive questioning by the police Special Branch. I denied knowing Oshchenko, and having worked for the KGB. I also denied severing my links with the Communist Party at the behest of anyone, and I denied that my trip to Portugal in 1977 was a KGB training mission.

Throughout the interviews I was not told exactly what I was suspected of having done; nor was I told of the likely charges. It was natural, therefore, that I would be cautious of what I was saying to the police. I knew that I had something to hide, but I was puzzled about what classified information the police were concerned about. However, this reluctance to commit myself whilst in ignorance of the accusations did not help me, as I was then accused of being evasive.

I told the police I had noticed my home had been under surveillance in 1980-82 and 1985. I said that in July 1992, just days before I was arrested, I had seen a man watching my house. The police said my home had not been under surveillance before 8 August 1992, but 2 photographs were produced showing me and my wife leaving our flat the week before the 8 August 1992.

While being interviewed, my home and car were searched. As a result of these searches I was questioned about what was found. The key findings of the search were £2,000 in £50 notes, the “Williams” letter, 4 pieces of paper (referred to as tradecraft notes), and a map of Oporto with crosses on it.

Tradecraft and "Williams" letter found during searches

Also, in the boot of my car, was a holdall containing technical documents and components. A “restricted” document was found amongst the documents in the boot of the car. This was a 1982 document and one of a number left in my desk at work by a predecessor. If the “restricted” document was sensitive, why did Hirst Research Centre not ask for its return when the predecessor retired 6½ years earlier? Also, if I considered that this material was important, why did I leave it in the boot of my car for 7 days, when my car was left in the street outside my house and accessible to anyone? Surely a spy would have hidden the material in a more secure place?

I admitted that I lied on many points in order to protect myself from my relationship with Harry Williams. However, when it became impossible to hide my involvement, I admitted that I had been involved in an industrial espionage operation with Williams.

Half-way through the interviews my speech became noticeably slurred, which led to my lawyers suspecting that I had been slipped drugs in a cup of coffee.

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