Remember this hilarious accusation? Well,it now has been revealed that it was true!
""This is the first time we literally caught them red-handed in the process of contacting their agents here and received evidence that they finance a number of non-governmental organisations." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... dmits.html
quote]Russian 'spy rock' was genuine, former chief of staff admits
It was a spy plot so far-fetched it would be worthy of James Bond – a transmitter concealed inside an artificial rock by British agents and placed next to a Russian street in order to steal classified data.
Image 1 of 3
The FSB, the Russian intelligence service, broadcast X-rays of a hollowed-out rock filled with circuitry Photo: REUTERS
Image 1 of 3A video showed men alleged to be British agents repeatedly walking past the rock located next to a Moscow street Photo: REUTERS
Image 1 of 3Six years on, Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff has admitted that the 'embarrassing' episode was entirely true.
Photo: REUTERS By Nick Collins, and Duncan Gardham
19 Jan 2012
But it has emerged that the 'spy rock' diplomatic row which damaged relations with Russia in early 2006 was not a work of fiction after all.
Britain initially laughed off accusations from Moscow that spies had been caught "red-handed" using the fake rock to contact agents and download sensitive information.
Now six years on, Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff has admitted that the "embarrassing" episode was entirely true and not merely far-fetched Russian propaganda.
Jonathan Powell accepted that Britain did indeed plant a "spy rock" despite attempts by the then-prime minister to dismiss the story and denials of improper conduct by the Foreign Office.
In an interview broadcast on Putin, Russia and the West, a BBC Two series which starts tonight (THURS), he said: "There’s not much you can say. The spy rock was embarrassing. Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose.”
The incident was broadcast on Russian TV at a time when its government was seeking to justify new restrictive laws on human rights and pro-democracy campaigners.
Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, claimed the groups were being funded by Western government agencies, adding: "This law had been adopted to stop foreign powers interfering in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation."
The video, which appeared at the time to be an effort to frame the British, showed men alleged to be British agents repeatedly walking past the rock located next to a Moscow street.
One clip showed one of the men kicking the device, possibly because it had malfunctioned, while another British diplomat was seen picking up the football-sized rock and walking away with it.
The FSB, the Russian intelligence service, broadcast close-ups and X-rays of a hollowed-out rock filled with circuitry and accused four British men and one Russian of using a transmitter inside to download information onto palmtop computer.
In this way, they claimed, the Russian informant could wirelessly store information in the rock where it was , retrievable by the British agents in a 21st-century version of what is known as a 'dead-letter drop'.
Sergei Ignatchenko, a spokesman for the FSB, said: "This is the first time we literally caught them red-handed in the process of contacting their agents here and received evidence that they finance a number of non-governmental organisations."
But Mr Blair attempted to play down the allegations, smiling as he told journalists: "I think the less said about that, the better."
The programme hired Katia Zatuliveter, who was later arrested and accused of being a Russian spy, as a researcher. An immigration panel found there was insufficient evidence to deport her.
While researching the programme she made contact with a Nato official from who she was accused of trying to extract secrets.
Anatol Lieven, an expert in Russia at King's College, London, said: "The Russian authorities were always quite sure that this was a case of spying, even though they were accused of paranoia at the time, and there is no reason this will cause them to stir it up again.
"However it shows that, while we always accuse the Russians of not changing since the cold war, the same might be said of MI6."
A spokesman at the Russian Embassy in London said: "We believe that sufficient comments were already given by Russian officials back in 2006."
The Foreign Office declined to comment.