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UK officials still blocking Peter Wright’s ‘embarrassing’ Spycatcher files

A documentary-maker has accused the Cabinet Office of defying the 30-year rule in withholding details of the MI5 exposé The Guardian Jon Ungoed-Thomas

27 Nov 2021

The Cabinet Office has been accused of “delay and deception” over its blocking of the release of files dating back more than three decades that reveal the inside story of the intelligence agent Peter Wright and the Spycatcher affair.

Wright revealed an inside account of how MI5 “bugged and burgled” its way across London in his 1987 autobiography Spycatcher. He died aged 78 in 1995.

Details of Wright’s disclosures and the mostly futile attempts by Margaret Thatcher’s government to quash publicity of Wright’s revelations are detailed in 32 files containing government documents from 1986 and 1987.

Tim Tate, an award-winning documentary-maker and author who is seeking access to the files, accuses officials of withholding documents that may cause political embarrassment.

“They have behaved appallingly, as if the law does not apply to them,” he said. “It is a waste of public money over documents which should be in the public domain.”

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