07 May 2006

Putting facts into perspective

It is easy to exaggerate, and I expect everybody does that from time to time. What is not acceptable is when officials and experts exaggerate to make a point that is not defensible. You may have read the police interviews that I was subjected to immediately after my arrest, and now I would like to show you the document produced by the Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS), which was their first attempt to analyse what my case was about - their "Statement of Facts". I produce this below.

I have already dealt with the very "sensitive" exhibits in my case, the documents that an enemy of the UK would love to get their hands on. I was found 'not guilty' of perhaps the most serious offence (Count 3), and I maintain that the other issues were so exaggerated that the Prosecution misled the jury into believing that these really were secret documents.

Well, is there a way for my readers to judge just how sensitive and damaging these documents were at the time of my arrest and trial? Following my trial I was allowed to keep a complete set of all these documents, and so for all their huffing and puffing about how damaging this material was, it clearly was not so important to remove it from my possession.

Michael John Smith

(1) Michael John Smith [‘SMITH’], aged 43, of 48A Burton Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, is charged with two offences contrary to Sections 1(1)(b) and 1(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911. He is remanded in custody to Bow Street Magistrates Court. The custody time limit expires on 21 October 1992.

(2) Smith is a graduate in Electronic and electrical engineering. From 1985 to 31 July 1992 (when he was made redundant) he was employed as a Quality Audit Manager at the Hirst Research Centre, East Lane, Wembley, Middlesex. The Hirst Research Centre [‘HIRST’] is the central research laboratory of GEC Marconi Ltd; a wide range of MoD and commercial projects are undertaken there. Hirst is a ‘prohibited place’ within Section 3(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1911; it has been designated as such since before 1977. This is because it receives and holds classified material for the purpose of fulfilling MoD contracts. These contracts cover a range of military equipment including the Rapier Missile system (Statements Page 95).

(3) Smith signed an Official Secrets Act declaration on 15 July 1986 (Statements Page 96).

(4) Smith was arrested on 8 August 1992, at 9.33 am (Statements Pages 1-2, 4-5) in Kingston. Pamela Avril Smith, his wife, was arrested on the same date, at 48a Burton Road. [There is no evidence that she has committed any criminal offence.]

Smith’s arrest followed information given to the Security Services by a Russian defector, Viktor Oshchenko.

(5) A search warrant obtained on 7 August 1992 was executed shortly after Mrs Smith’s arrest at 48a Burton Road. Additional warrants had been obtained for the two cars owned by the Smiths, a Datsun and a Peugeot. Searches of 48a Burton Road took place on 8 August 10.30 am - 9.30 pm, 9 August 8 am - 9.30 pm and 10 August 8 am - 4.45 pm (Statements Page 20). The vehicles were searched on 9 August (Statements Page 21).

In the Datsun, there was found a sheet of lined paper containing technical writing in a plastic bag, which was under the carpet of the driver’s side (exhibit JS/8). In the boot was found a quantity of correspondence and components (exhibits JS/14-JS/38) (Statements Page 24).

On 10 August, in 48a Burton Road, there was found in a bedroom table drawer a white envelope addressed to Mr MJ Smith; the envelope contained a letter and four pieces of paper (JS/40-44) (Statements Page 32). There were also found two envelopes each containing £1000 in £50 notes (Statements Page 36), in the same bedroom drawer. The documents JS/40-44 are copied at Pages 320-323 of the Documents. Evidence will be forthcoming that these documents show the use of tradecraft, i.e. spycraft techniques (see Paragraphs 16 and 17 of the Police Report).

A large quantity of correspondence and receipts relating to Smith’s financial affairs were found. Enquiries are still continuing in respect of these, but it appears that over £15,000 is unaccounted for in relation to income against expenditure for Smith between February 1990 and July 1992.

(6) The documents (Exhibit SC/3) found in the upstairs hall at 48a Burton Road, in a black attaché case and carrier bags, are being assessed. According to Paragraph 22 of the Police Report, the documents consist of “about 80 separate documents originating from Hirst and the MoD”.

(7) The contents of the documents and articles found are summarised below:-

Exhibit JS/16 contains three pages of handwritten script and diagrams headed RUGATE FILTERS FOR SDI dated June 1992.

Exhibit JS/17 contains three pages of handwritten script and diagrams headed MICROMACHINING PROJECT dated June 1992.

Exhibit JS/18 contains four pages of handwritten script and diagrams headed QUASI-OPTICAL CAR RADAR dated May 1992.

Exhibit JS/19 contains one handwritten page of script and diagram headed MICRON-VALVE PROJECT dated May 1992.

Exhibit JS/20 contains one handwritten page of script and diagram headed OLFACTORY RESEARCH PROJECT dated May 1992.

Exhibit JS/14 comprises 13 articles originating from about 1986/87 used in military equipment.

Exhibit JS/15 contains 174 page sides, originals and photocopies, of Hirst Research Centre documents including drawings and literature relating to Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) devices which have military applications. Four pages are marked RESTRICTED.

Exhibit JS/21 contains 42 page sides, originals and photocopies of Hirst Research Centre documents which relate mainly to the ‘F’ Band Delay Line, a component used in the Rapier missile system.

Exhibit JS/22 to JS/36 contain a total of 29 pages of technical drawings and relate to the assembly of the ‘F’ Band Delay Line Mk 3.

Exhibit JS/37 contains 11 pages of technical drawings and relates to the assembly of the ‘F’ Band Delay Line Mk 3.

Exhibit JS/38 contains 11 pages of blueprints originating from Cossor Electronics and relates to the ‘F’ Band Delay Line and some are marked ‘Frozen for Rapier OFC Mk II’ with a NATO reference, and one technical drawing which relates to the ‘F’ Band Delay Line.

(8) The documents and articles have been shown to and assessed by witnesses from Hirst, the MoD, the Defence Research Agency and Cossor Electronics.

(9) Dr S Cundy, the Director of Hirst, G Swallow, a senior manager and D Barlow, Smith’s immediate supervising manager, all state that the documents JS/14-15, 21-38 were obtained from Hirst (Statements Pages 45-46, 48, 70, 78, 86). JS/21-38 have a military application and relate to a component for the Rapier missile system. Cundy states that there has been a systematic attempt to obtain details of manufacturing procedures and piece parts relating to delay lines for the Rapier missile; a similar effort has been made in respect of surface acoustic wave devices (Statements Page 45). Smith did not have permission to take the documents. Swallow says that the particular delay lines have only been produced by Hirst for military applications (Statements Page 49). JS/16, for example, relates to a military project carried out at Hirst concerning the Strategic Defence Initiative project, better known as Star Wars (Statements Page 69).

(10) Squadron Leader C Bagley and G Smith, of the MoD, state that exhibits JS/22-37 relate to the Operators Confidence Facility (OCF), an item of equipment used to test a Rapier by the operator, daily, when deploying and setting up the system. Bagley says that the items have a military application only and could be useful to an enemy (Statements Page 51). Gordon Smith (Statements Page 53) states that the loss of the information would be prejudicial to the interests of the UK, and the other users of the Rapier system. The information only has a military application, and might be useful to an enemy. J. Weatherley of Cossor Electronics Ltd has looked at JS/21 and JS/38; which relate to the purchase and specification of a component developed in conjunction with Hirst for the Rapier OCF (Statements Page 91).

(11) The technology officers for the Rapier project in the MoD have examined JS/14-JS/38 (Statements Pages 56, 57, 58, 59, 60) as have scientists at the Defence Research Agency (Statements Pages 62, 64, 65, 66 and 67). In short, items in isolation do not seem of great moment; however, combined with more detailed information they could be of benefit to a foreign power.

(12) Smith was interviewed at Paddington Green Police Station on the 8-11 August 1992. The interviews took place as follows:-

8 August:
3.05 pm - 3.31 pm
5.50 pm - 6.41 pm (solicitor present from this interview onwards)
7.13 pm - 7.34 pm

9 August:
2.08 pm - 3.36 pm
4.15 pm - 6.47 pm
9.12 pm - 9.21 pm

10 August:
4.57 pm - 5.55 pm
8.19 pm - 9.16 pm
9.52 pm - 10.08 pm

11 August:
10.26 am - 11.24 am
12.21 pm - 12.58 pm
2.56 pm - 3.47 pm
5.27 pm - 6.33 pm
8.23 pm - 9.50 pm
10.20 pm - 10.48 pm

The telephone call on 8 August 1992 from a Security Services Officer (in the guise of a man with a foreign accent) is put to Smith (Interviews, Page 40). [As a result of this call, Smith went out to await another telephone call - evidence of this is awaited.] He denies knowing anyone called Victor (Oschenko) (Interviews, Page 70, 88, 89). He denied passing information to the KGB (Interviews, Page 93). The tape recording (SJB/4) of the telephone call on 8 August 1992 between Smith and ‘George’ was played to Smith (Interviews, Page 116-118). Smith would not make any comments on the tape (Interviews, Page 119). He denied being recruited by the KGB (Page 123). He made no comment about the Russian called Victor (Page 126). He denied having a Russian controller (Page 147). Smith admitted that in 1978, when he was working for Thorn EMI, he was moved to unclassified work when his affiliation with the Communist Party came to light (Page 184); he joined the Party in 1971 (Page 195).

He denied working for the KGB (Interviews 252, 275, 296, 336). He denied knowing Viktor Oshchenko, a KGB intelligence officer (312) - “these people mean nothing to me” (313). He denied knowing Viktor Lazin (312, 335) and Chernyayev (314, 335), (the latter was expelled from this country in April 1983).

He was unable to explain how he paid £4800 in cash for some computer equipment (345). He said he collected it over a period of a couple of weeks from the sources he had (348). He denied the money had come from the KGB (350, 352).

As to the documents discovered in his possession, he says that on leaving Hirst Research “in a state of panic at the end of the day I had a pile of stuff I couldn’t sort out so I just dumped it into a bag and took it home with me … and found a restricted document which I thought I shouldn’t have had but I did intend to dispose of it”. He said he was going to destroy it (374).

The telephone call on 8 August, 1992, is dealt with at Pages 377-386.

Dealing with the £2000 in £50 notes found in his house, Smith said it was money he had withdrawn from his account (389). He said he preferred dealing in cash because of high interest rates on credit cards (393). He said the money was “an accumulation” (395) even though the bank notes ran in sequence (417). He denied it was a lump sum payment by the KGB (396).

He later tried to explain it as coming from other income, for example, through playing the guitar (419). The money was for “a rainy day” (433). He later said it came from GEC Hirst (447).

Smith was unable to explain the letter (JS/40) from ‘Williams’ which said “I would be happy to meet you, as previously at the recreation in October” (397, 401). It was received many years ago (453).

Smith could not first explain why document JS/8 was found underneath the mat in the front of his car (404-405). He then said “I had a leak in the bottom of my car, I put something under there to stop it making the mat wet”. (The floor was in fact bone dry, the interviewing officer commenting that this was not the kind of leaks the police were interested in. There were no water marks or stains on the paper.)

He deals with a visit to Harrow (473-492, 631 onwards), the telephone call on the Saturday (494-496), and his movements as a result of the call to meet the man George (to 525). Smith denied that he was responding to the telephone call because he was expecting to meet someone or receive further directions for a meeting (527). (The call had been made by the Security Services - at present there is no evidence concerning this aspect.) The telephone call contained a reference to Victor. Smith denied that it was the mention of Victor which prompted him to leave his house (532).

Pages 541-551 deal with the finances of Smith. Page 552 onwards sees the introduction by Smith of an Englishman named Harry (“I never knew his second name, or even if Harry was his true name”). Harry wanted documentation from Hirst Research Centre; for which he would pay money (555).

Harry, from about January 1990, paid Smith £10,000 to £12,000 (597) in instalments, Smith handing over documents in instalments (556). The meetings were arranged by Harry (558). One meeting was in the Harrow shopping area (562), another was in Greenford (566). Smith said he gave Harry information concerning “obsolete projects” (567). Smith handed Harry photocopies (570). The meetings, says Smith, stopped in April 1992 (571, 600). Smith does not believe that he gave Harry any classified documents (575). Harry was after commercial secrets (576) - Harry’s client was looking to see how far Hirst had got in certain work. Harry gave Smith money in £50 notes (577). Harry first approached Smith by telephoning him at work (591) - he seemed interested in micro-electronics (593). Smith says that Harry terminated the relationship because he felt that Smith was not giving him useful information (597). As to whether he took photocopies or originals, Smith said “there were some originals but the originals were documents that I had in my possession that would not be missed and I didn’t need them” (618). Smith admitted that he made “a few notes and sketches … but not many. In fact a lot of the work I do involves taking notes anyway” (619).

He said as to the documents generally found in his possession - “my judgement is that there is nothing controversial and I don’t believe that the company is very interested in it frankly” (625). The documents, he says, were “commercial secrets” (688). At pages 655-661, he gives his explanation for going to Harrow - he wanted to get a particular magazine called ‘Keyboard’ (658-659).

He deals with various papers found in his possession, including a piece with a possible symbol and “danger, come next day” (666). This is exhibit JS/41. On JS/44, there were the words “get old project notes, bio-sensor, micro-machining, micron valve”. Smith says that these were perhaps areas he had to do audits on (673). Smith denies that the various symbols are KGB fieldcraft, their means of communicating with their agents (676-677). The Police, he says, have completely misread some doodlings (678). The two envelopes containing the £2000 in banknotes also contained the bits of paper (684).

He admits signing the Official Secrets Act declaration (exhibit MN/8) (688), on 15 July, 1986.

With further reference to the pieces of paper with apparent symbols, Smith says “I made notes about something or other that were important at the time but I don’t recollect what they were for” (695).

It is put to him that the reason he “reacted so quickly to that phone call on Saturday morning” was because he had lost contact with his controller (704).

The documents found in Smith’s possession are produced to him from Page 706 onwards. He says he intended to use the notes he had made for future audits (708, 711).

Smith says that Harry refused to give his full identity; despite that, he provided him at regular intervals with information concerning GEC Hirst Research. He did this on his judgement that there was no significant risk to the company (724). The last payment he received from Harry was in the nature of £2000 (726). Smith says he made it clear that he would not supply sensitive secret information on military projects - “in fact I did make it quite clear that I wouldn’t do that, that it was purely a question of company information that would be useful to his client” (729).

In summary at the end of the final interview, Smith denied all the allegations about being a KGB agent (735-744).

Smith was charged on 11 August, 1992 at 11.24 pm; he made no reply (Statements Page 104).

R E Glenister
Special Casework Division
September 1992