Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 January 2012

Britain Admits It Used “Spy Rocks” in Moscow


For the first time, Britain admitted it was spying when the FSB, the Russian state security service, accused British diplomats of using a transceiver hidden inside a rock on a Moscow street. Footage showing the alleged spies using the device aired on Russian TV in January 2006. The FSB described it as “absolutely new spy technology”. Then, the UK Foreign Office denied the claims. However, in a BBC documentary due to be broadcast later today, Jonathan Powell, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff, admitted that the footage was genuine, saying, “The spy rock was embarrassing, they had us bang to rights. Clearly, they’d known about it for some time and they’d been saving it up for a political purpose”. The documentary alleges that the purpose of the film was to justify the adoption of a controversial new law giving the authorities increased powers to monitor the activities and finances of non-governmental organisations. At that time, then-President Vladimir Putin said that foreign spies used NGOs as a cover and argued that the measure was necessary for state security, but critics said it cracked down on human rights and democracy.

19 January 2012



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