Editor accepts MI6 link with articles

 

Mr Dominic Lawson, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, acknowledged yesterday that articles written under a false name when he was editor of the Spectator magazine were "probably" written by an MI6 officer.

The Guardian last week disclosed that "Kenneth Roberts", the author of the articles which were written under a Sarajevo dateline in 1994, was a member of the British foreign intelligence service.

The articles appeared to be part of an attempt to influence public opinion during the Bosnian civil war by suggesting that atrocities were being carried out by all sides and not just Bosnian-Serb troops. One of the articles included a bitter attack on British journalists covering the war.

Mr Lawson, who is the son of the former Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, told the Guardian he had no means of knowing whether the author of the articles was an MI6 officer. However, yesterday he said claims that "Kenneth

Roberts" was in reality an MI6 agent were "probably right".

He referred to threats to the Times late last week from what that newspaper called "senior intelligence sources" that a D Notice would be served in an attempt to prevent the true identity of "Kenneth Roberts" from being revealed. Mr Lawson also says in a column in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph that he remembers asking "Kenneth Roberts" whether he had written under a pseudonym for any other publication. Mr Lawson adds: " `Yes', he said: the Times.' "

Mr Lawson was alleged in the Commons last week to have been an MI6 "asset" who was paid for his services for British intelligence. Mr Lawson denied ever having been "an agent, either paid or unpaid, of MI6 or any other government agency".

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that British intelligence officers claimed to be journalists from the Spectator magazine as a cover while working in Russia and eastern Europe.