Operation Flavius - Examination of MI5 Records

Examination of MI5 Records

Professor Christopher Andrew, the official historian for the Security Service, was given access to MI5's records to prepare a book for the centenary of the organisation. Andrew said he was "confident" that there was no shoot to kill policy in operation and that MI5 had made a mistake in assuming that McCann, Savage and Farrell were carrying a means of causing an explosion when shot.

The book also contains a surveillance photo of Siobhán O'Hanlon taken in Gibraltar prior to the shootings, and a map of her movements. The files state that she noticed Spanish intelligence following her in Spain and returned to Ireland. O'Hanlon was a Sinn Féin official and an aide to Gerry Adams. Some British newspapers have accused her of being involved in the attempted bombing. She died in 2006.

Andrew had access to all files created by MI5 since it was founded but was limited in what he could publish. He was required to enroll in the Security Service in order to be given access to the archives, which drew criticism from some historians and commentators prior to the writing of the book. In general, these criticisms suggested that he was too close to MI5 to be impartial, and that his link with the Service made him a "court historian" instead of a clear-eyed and critical examiner of its past.

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