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LONDON – Spies in the MI6 agency in Great Britain are infuriated that their chief, Sir John Scarlett, has handed over one of his veteran agents to Scotland Yard’s Anti-terrorist Command on allegations he collaborated with the CIA in torture at a secret center in Morocco, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
While the long-serving officer is known to have a reputation for harsh interrogation methods, Scarlett’s unprecedented action has rocked the Secret Intelligence Service’s staff of 2,500. The atmosphere within its London headquarters is described as “vile.”
It has emerged that Scarlett only told a few of his top staff that he wanted the officer handed over to the Yard after he had interviewed him.
The officer is believed to be an Arab linguist. He is currently on “gardening leave” – ordered to stay at home.
Scarlett’s decision will almost certainly affect morale in MI6.
“There has never been a case of the Secret Intelligence Service acting like this. It is impossible to believe that Scarlett did not calculate the consequences of taking matters outside the service,” said one long-serving officer.
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Scarlett’s own investigation into allegations the officer was complicit in torture was held in secret in an MI6 safe house. The interviews are believed to have been spread over several weeks.
He then reported his findings to Foreign Secretary David Milliband, MI6’s political master who discussed it with the attorney general, Lady Scotland. She then saw Scarlett.
A Whitehall source who is familiar with the background to the case said that the law officer was pressed by Scarlett to call in Scotland Yard.
“He strongly felt there was a need to set an example of how MI6 should behave. Collaborating with the CIA on torture is not one of them,” the MI6 chief is said to have argued.
Within MI6 there are claims that Scarlett, who will retire in November, wants to leave with his reputation intact as a hard-line intelligence chief.