FBI Mole Passed Secrets To IRA In Thatcher Murder Plot In The U.S. – Newly Released Files Show
Today’s (Dec. 8, 2014) edition of the London newspaper, The Guardian, reports that “the U.S. government suspected a mole inside the FBI was passing secrets to Irish Republican militants — who repeatedly plotted to assassinate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, ” according to hundreds of pages of files made public under a freedom of information request, filed by the British newspaper — The Guardian.
Jon Sawine, writing in today’s Guardian newspaper, notes that “a series of investigations by federal agents into alleged plots to murder Thatcher during visits to the U.S. are detailed in hundreds of pages of FBI files involving the former Prime Minister,” which the paper said were made public by a freedom of information request after the former Prime Minister’s death.
According to The Guardian, “one trusted source told the FBI that a “female, secretary-type” in the agency’s New York bureau was giving the provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) “access to computers, name checks, and ID,” — a claim that agents said tallied with independent allegations of a leak. Fears that the New York [FBI} office may have been compromised, led William Sessions, then FBI Director, to order that all material relating to an apparent plot against Thatcher by two men linked to Sinn Fein must be restricted to a pair of senior officials,” the paper noted.
Mr. Swaine notes that “the precautions followed several years of alleged plots detailed in the files. In February 1981, two men with “English or Irish accents,” were overheard by an FBI source “of proven reliability” in the cocktail lounge of the Boar’s Head restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia, seemingly discussing a “hit” during a visit by Thatcher.” “This will even the score for H,” one man was overheard saying. FBI took this as a reference to block H of the notorious Maze prison in Northern Ireland, where IRA members were being held. “The Iron Maiden [sic] is no better than any other bloody PM,” the man went on.”
Mr. Swaine writes that “the man was also said to have been heard referring to Bloody Sunday, “war” and “blanket men.” “Several IRA prisoners carried out a protest against their uniforms, in which they wore only blankets for several years. The man’s drinking partner was said to have tried to “quiet him down.” The Guardian added that “the FBI carried out surveillance of the restaurant while interviewing staff; and, alerting field offices around the [Washington] region. The New York Field Office said that “three known IRA terrorists” were known to be in the area. Suspects were identified, but their names were redacted in the files released on Monday. Also included were photographs of the suspects that were circulated between agents. Delta Airlines was co-opted to help locate their flight records,” The Guardian noted.
“As agents scrambled to find the alleged plotters, the source who overheard the conversation was asked to undergo hypnosis; and, take a polygraph test — to help determine whether he was telling the truth.” “However,” according to The Guardian, the source “refused, and was angry his integrity was being called into question.”
“Despite some fraught nerves among FBI officials,” Mr. Swaine writes, “in the end Thatcher’s visit to New York and Washington, where she was to collect an honorary degree from Georgetown University, passed without incident.” By March 1981, the case was declared closed the files show. “Several more threats against Ms. Thatcher — of varying significance — emerged in the following years,” the paper said. “In 1987, a suicidal man from Florida was said to have threatened to kill [Mrs.] Thatcher; but, “got lost” on his way to Camp David, the Presidential retreat where she was staying [at the time] with POTUS Ronald Reagan.”
“In December 1989, a man with an English accent, called the FBI from Southampton to warn that Thatcher and then-President George Bush Sr. were targets of an assassination plot by a group going by the name “Gods Soldiers.” Neither threat materialized to any measurable degree. However, The Guardian reports, “a fresh plot emerged in July 1992, following Thatcher’s departure from 10 Downing Street; and, in advance of speaking trip to the U.S. A tipoff arrived from a trusted FBI asset in Boston, who was apparently working undercover in American-based IRA circles; and, had learned of the plot in a New York bar identified as a “hotbed’ of IRA activity.” Mr. Swaine writes that “the threat was taken seriously. Dozens of pages of files were created, and the mole inquiry was launched. Two known, IRA operatives were thought to have been behind past attacks in the U.K., and said to have fled to California for New York — were identified as the prime suspects — although their names were also redacted in Monday’s release.”
Thank goodness no harm ever came to Ms. Thatcher, one of the great leaders of the 20th century; and, a giant of a woman with grit and the courage of her convictions. Rest in peace Ms. Thatcher. V/R, RCP