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On January 3 this year, all of six weeks ago, I wrote a feature on the US spies at the Croughton airbase in Northamptonshire.
In the article I wrote about Anne Sacoolas, the woman who driving on the wrong side of the road when she knocked 19-year-old Harry Dunn off his motorbike and killed him.
What I actually said about Anne Sacoolas was this: “It isn’t even known if she is just a family member. Local speculation on and off the base suggests she might have been just as much of a spook as her husband.”
The speed at which she was shipped back to the US claiming diplomatic immunity certainly suggested this was not just some family member here supporting her husband.
Now it seems the mighty Boris Johnson fanzine that is the Mail on Sunday has come to exactly the same conclusion I did all those weeks ago.
The Mail on Sunday trumpeted that “the American woman accused of killing Harry Dunn was a CIA agent. Fugitive mother-of-three Anne Sacoolas, who fled Britain after crashing into the teenager’s motorbike outside an air base last August was a CIA spy and held a higher rank than her husband.”
The Mail also revealed the embarrassing facts that British ministers and officials were aware of Ms Sacoolas’s position as a senior spy in the US’s huge espionage machine alongside her more junior spy husband Jonathan.
What isn’t clear is why the British government and intelligence agencies allowed her to come to Britain without declaring her real position but claiming she was just a relative.
This claim allowed her to use diplomatic immunity to slip away back to the US just days after the fatal road crash. Strangely although relatives enjoy diplomatic immunity active working agents at Croughton have all voluntarily given up that immunity for themselves.
The Mail’s revelations prompted Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles to say: “Things are now beginning to fall into place as to why the US government was blocking her extradition to face justice.” Harry Dunn’s family have long claimed there had been a cover up. They continue to keep fighting to bring Sacoolas back to Britain.
Mystery still surrounds the exact circumstances of how the Sacoolas family were able to flee in the days after the crash in which Sacoolas’s right-hand drive Volvo on the wrong side of the road collided with Mr Dunn outside the Croughton Spy Base last summer.
The US government continue to claim they notified the Foreign Office that the Sacoolas family were flying home claiming diplomatic immunity.
Ms Sacoolas has now been charged over the fatal incident and belatedly apologised for 19-year-old Harry’s death, but is refusing to return to Britain.
The Mail on Sunday used its vast resources to uncover multiple sources in both Washington and London that confirmed Sacoolas’s long CIA background. As you would expect Trump and his government still insist she was not spying on Britain.
In a media statement Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles told The Mail on Sunday: “Things are now beginning to fall into place. In our deepest, darkest hour, we could not understand how anybody could just get on a plane after such a catastrophic crash and leave a devastated family behind.
“We have also found it impossible to figure out why the US administration has behaved in the lawless way it has in harbouring Anne Sacoolas. But no-one is above the law. Whether or not you are a CIA officer, a diplomat or anyone else, the Vienna Convention states that you must abide by and respect the rules and regulations of the host country.
“Her leaving, and the US government protecting her and refusing the extradition request, is nothing short of a disgrace and we will not stand for it. Whether she is CIA or not, she must come back and I will not rest until she does.”
Meanwhile back in Britain’s corridors of power Prime Minister Boris Johnson keeps his head down refusing to express any opinion that might upset his blond-twin-across-the-water Trump.
Home Secretary Priti Patel too seems to be keen on not doing anything that might upset President Trump prior to any US-British trade agreement.
Last week Patel agreed to extradite billionaire British businessman Mike Lynch. This decision opened up a few divisions among the Tories. Former Cabinet Minister David Davis called the US-UK extradition arrangements “a bad treaty.”
“When the US Department of Justice requests the extradition of a UK citizen, we effectively have no choice but to cough them up,” he went on, “but when UK authorities want to extradite an American the US Secretary of State may process the request. What the US may choose to do was made crystal clear in the recent case of Anne Sacoolas and the death of Harry Dunn.”
Johnson has other problems too with his relations with Trump and ironically they too seem woven into the shady world of the transatlantic intelligence communities.
An apoplectic President Trump, it seems, slammed down the phone when Johnson phoned him to tell him of his decision to give Chinese tech giant Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G telecoms network. Johnson has postponed a forthcoming visit to Trump. Doesn’t bode well for those upcoming post Brexit trade talks.
Indeed US Vice-President Mike Pence has said the exact same thing. Washington regards Huawei as a security risk because of its close ties with the communist government in Beijing and has warned all its allies including Britain that they risk a reduction in intelligence co-operation if they give the company any role in sensitive communications networks.
Sensitive communications networks? Sounds like we are back at Croughton in Northamptonshire again. Let’s just hope the new US spooks and spies replacing CIA agent Sacoolas know what side of the road we drive on.
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