1. Troyhand said:

    Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Nov 12, 1982
    Hunt For More Spies
    U.S. Chiefs To Interrogate Prime For Possible Leaks

    LONDON (UPI) – The major question facing Britain’s security chiefs Friday in the aftermath of the Geoffrey Prime espionage trial was whether any more spies were lurking in the British intelligence network.

    Prime, 44, sentenced to 38 years for spying for Russia and on sex charges, now faces an extensive investigation in jail from both the British and American security services.

    They will expand on a 30-page statement that the Russian language specialist has already made to police indicating he spied alone.

    American intelligence sources believe as many as three spies are working at Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham, one of the West’s two main centers for communications surveillance, transcribing and analyzing intercepted Soviet messages, U.S. reports said.

    Intelligence officers who question Prime will want to know the kind of information the Russians sought from him. This could give clues to what the Soviets already knew – and point to other possible leaks within the British or American spy networks.

    Prime could become “a work of reference for some time to come” on Russian intelligence work and its aims, one intelligence source told The Times in London.

    Prime worked for nearly 10 years at Cheltenham, but his double life as a spy only emerged after police questioned him about sex offences against little girls.

    Prime’s cooperation with police apparently leaves the unexplained mystery of why he twice flew abroad to contact his spymasters after he left government service in 1977. Was he going over old ground or was he acting as a courier for another spy?

    There is also the possibility that other spies were – or still are – working independently within British intelligence.

    Perusing this evidence will be Britain’s Security Commission, a panel of senior judicial and military figures charged with investigating Prime’s case and reviewing security arrangements.

    That is the other major question. Are Britain’s security checks on its own spies good enough?

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told parliament Prime passed security tests four times in the 14 years he was giving secrets to the Russians.

    Yet in court he was described as a loner and “a sexual and social misfit.” His spying was uncovered only after he was detained for molesting children. He kept a card index on 2,287 little girls in his house.

    Such a personality would have “sent the needle off the paper” given a lie detector test according to one U.S. security expert.

    These are not used in Britain where the security check procedure consists of checking personal references.

    Some members of Parliament are convinced the British checks do not work.

    “The majority of traitors in this country since the war have been loners, perverts or drunks,” said Conservative legislator Sir Bernard Braine, “and there is something gravely wrong with a system which does not turn up quirks of character which should not exist in people entrusted with jobs in national security.”

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