Richard Tomlinson : biography
Richard John Charles Tomlinson (born 13 January 1963) is a New Zealand-born British former Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) officer. His career is notable because he believed he had been subject to unfair dismissal from MI6 in 1995, and attempted to take his former employer to a tribunal. MI6 refused, arguing that to do so would breach state security, although Tomlinson disputed this reasoning.
In 1997, Tomlinson was imprisoned under the Official Secrets Act 1989 after he gave a synopsis of a proposed book detailing his career with MI6 to an Australian publisher. He served five months of a twelve-month sentence before being given parole, whereupon he left the country. The book, named The Big Breach, was published in Moscow in 2001 (and later in Edinburgh), and was subsequently serialised by The Sunday Times. The book detailed various aspects of MI6 operations, as well as alleging that it employed a mole in the German Bundesbank and that it had a "licence to kill", the latter of which was later confirmed by the head of MI6 at a public hearing.
Tomlinson then attempted to aid Mohamed al-Fayed in his privately funded investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and al-Fayed's son Dodi. Tomlinson claimed that MI6 had considered assassinating Slobodan Milošević, the president of Serbia, by staging a car crash using a powerful strobe light to blind the driver. He suggested that Diana and Dodi may have been killed by MI6 in the same way, although that claim was dismissed at their inquest in 2007. MI6 admitted that plans of that nature had been drafted regarding a different Eastern European official, but that the proposal had been swiftly rejected by management.
In 2009, MI6 agreed to allow Tomlinson to return to Britain, unfreeze royalties from his book and drop the threat of charges. MI6 also apologised for his mistreatment.The Sunday Times (London) 31 May 2009 Edition 1 MI6 woos home renegade ex-spy, p7 Since 2000, staff at MI6 have been allowed employment tribunals, and have been able to unionise since 2008.[https://www.sis.gov.uk/about-us/legislation-and-accountability/investigatory-powers-tribunal.html Investigatory Powers Tribunal – SIS (MI6)]
Other alleged breaches and assertions
List of MI6 agents
In May 1999, a list of 116 alleged MI6 agents was sent to Executive Intelligence Review magazine, which published it online. Its names included Andrew Fulton, who had recently retired, as well as David Spedding and Richard Dearlove. MI6 biographer Stephen Dorril explained that most of the names were "light-cover" sources who worked out of embassies or missions posing as diplomats. Dorril argued, "it is well known that rival intelligence networks know who these people are and accept them." MI6 claimed that Tomlinson had originated the list, which was something he had previously threatened to do, although he denied responsibility for it, and MI6 were unable to substantiate their accusation. Tomlinson wrote, "If MI6 had set out to produce a list that caused me the maximum incrimination, but caused them the minimum damage, they could not have done a better job."The Big Breach, http://www.oocities.org/mi6_underground/recommendedreading.txt He also said, "It mystifies me why MI6 gave the list credibility. If they were really worried about the safety of their agents they could have denied it." After The Sun newspaper called Tomlinson a "traitor" and published his email address, he received death threats, and feared for his life. Government officials later conceded that the list did not originate from Tomlinson.
Diana, Princess of Wales
During 2008, Tomlinson was a witness for the inquest into the deaths of the Princess of Wales and Dodi al Fayed. He had suggested that MI6 was monitoring Diana before her death and that her driver on the night she died, Henri Paul, may have been an MI6 informant, and that her death resembled plans he saw during 1992 for the assassination of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, using a bright light to cause a traffic accident.
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