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Brit agent stakeknife murdered hundreds in ira { May 14 2003 }

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Stakeknife is in British safe house

Disagreement over location of man alleged to be army spy in IRA

Rosie Cowan and Richard Norton-Taylor
Wednesday May 14, 2003
The Guardian

Alfredo Scappaticci, the man said to have been the army's top spy at the heart of the IRA, is in a safe house in mainland Britain protected by the security services, Whitehall sources disclosed last night.
Although republican sources insisted he was still in Belfast and his lawyer issued a statement denying his client had ever been an informer, sources said he moved out of his west Belfast home on Sunday.

The Ministry of Defence said the army had run an agent - known as "Steak Knife" rather than Stakeknife as has appeared in the press - and that Mr Scappaticci was not "in the care of the army", with the inference he was being protected by the security and intelligence services, not the military. Defence sources denied reports he was staying at the army's intelligence corps base at Chicksands, Bedfordshire.

Well-placed security sources are adamant that Mr Scappaticci, 59, was a top agent, paid 80,000 a year by the government for passing information to the army's shadowy Force Research Unit for more than 20 years. They also insisted he was responsible for dozens of murders - many carried out when he was deputy head of the IRA's notorious internal security unit, known as the Nutting Squad, which tortured and executed suspected informers - and that innocent people died to protect his identity.

Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan police chief investigating security force collusion with terrorists in Northern Ireland, said some weeks ago he was keen to quiz Stakeknife.

Dick Fedorcio, the director of public affairs at Scotland Yard and a press spokesman for the Stevens team, said: "It remains the commissioner's intention to interview Stakeknife in due course. However, he hasn't done so yet and he is not prepared to discuss the timescale."

Mr Scappaticci's Falls Road-based solicitor, Michael Flanigan, said in a statement: "A number of serious allegations have been made about my client in the press since Sunday. My client denies each and every one of these allegations. He is not 'Stakeknife'; he has never been an informer, has never contacted the intelligence services, has never been taken into protective custody, and has never received any money from the security services.

"My client is the victim of misrepresentation, apparently emanating from the security forces and disseminated by the press. Mr Scappaticci is an ordinary working class man, living in west Belfast, and as such has no means at his disposal to combat this onslaught of false allegations.

"Clearly, his life has been placed in danger as a result and he is now in hiding. He has not been arrested and no attempt has been made by the police to speak to him about any of the matters referred to by the media. He has not been contacted by the Stevens investigation team."

It was not until last November that the MoD adopted a more cooperative approach towards the Stevens inquiry, when the new head of the army, General Sir Mike Jackson, said any soldier suspected of breaking the law should be brought to court.

Whitehall is also puzzled by the MoD's refusal to provide pensions and allowances to former FRU agents. They have expressed extreme frustration at the MoD's attitude, but the former agent known as Kevin Fulton categorically denies having revealed Stakeknife's identity.

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