London, Oct 3(ANI): A British newspaper has claimed that former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who was one of the most prominent British politicians of the latter half of the 20th century, was seen as potential suspect by M15 for his relationships with Eastern European businessmen and contacts with several KGB officers.
It is also reported that MI5 also had a secret file on Wilson, which was opened in 1945 when he became an MP and was maintained throughout the time till he was Prime Minister in 1960's and 1970's.
The associates, who were highlighted as being his dubious contacts, included Joseph Kagan, whose company made the Gannex macs and who also had close contacts with KGB officers. Another close contact was Rudy Sternberg, who had made a fortune out of trading with the Soviet bloc and was suspected of being a Soviet spy and Harry Kissin, who had also made a fortune from East-West trade, The Times reports.
According to the first official history of the British Security Service, the existence of the file was so secret that it was given a cover name, due its unusual sensitivity as Wilson was the only serving Prime Minister to have a permanent Security Service file.
His file was kept under the pseudonym "Norman John Worthington"
When Sir Michael Hanley became the MI5 Director-General in 1972, he even went to greater lengths than his predecessors Sir Roger Hollis and Sir Martin Furnival Jones to conceal the file's existence and made it compulsory that access to it required his personal permission.
"In March 1974, the DG instructed that the card referring to the file should be removed from the Registry Central Index, with the result that 'a look-up on Harold Wilson would therefore be No Trace'," the official history said.
Meanwhile, Baroness Manningham-Buller, the Director-General of MI5 from 2002 to 2007, said that a file in the agency doesn't mean that a person is under suspicion, rather a file can be maintained for a number of reasons.
"Having a file doesn't automatically mean that you are in any way under suspicion. You might well have a file, supposing you were a person who was a target for a terrorist attack. You might well have a file giving the security arrangements. So, files don't equal suspicion. There was no plot, no conspiracy," he added. (ANI)