the summer of 2000, members of MI5 and the FBI met
in the Washington office of the FBI. The purpose
of the meeting was to finalise the details of the
stitch up of Michael McKevitt. Back in the mid 1990s
the FBI had supplied MI5 with a paid informant,
David Rupert. Rupert had worked with the FBI since
1974. He was a multiple bankrupt and a career informant
for 30 years, working initially with the FBI and
later with MI5. During those years he was arrested
for cheque and wire fraud as well as suspected white
slavery having been found with a 15 year old run-away
in his truck. He was never charged or convicted
of any of the above. However his informant services
where used extensively throughout the same period.
travelled to Ireland spying on Irish citizens from
the early 1990s. During the mid 90s
Rupert was introduced to MI5 who according to him
directed and controlled his actions while in Ireland.
At one point the FBI funded the lease of a Bar and
adjoining caravan and camping holiday park in Co.
Leitrim as a base for Rupert to spy from. Rupert
claimed the park was being used by IRA sympathisers
and duly sent the names, addresses and telephone
numbers of all the families mainly from Belfast
who had holidayed in the park to the FBI and MI5.
This was at a time when Loyalist death squads were
receiving information from state forces to set up
and murder selected individuals on their instructions.
The Garda authorities were aware of Rupert passing
details on to FBI/MI5 about Irish citizens yet they
chose to allow this to happen.
his stay in Ireland Rupert claimed he forwarded
all of the relevant intelligence he had acquired
to MI5 via encrypted e-mails. Between 1997 and 2001
Rupert posted 2166 e-mails to his paymasters in
According to an article in Forum Magazine:
On 11 April 1998, Rupert dispatched his
most controversial e-mail to MI5 headquarters.
It was almost five months before the now infamous
maroon Vauxhall Cavalier would decimate the centre
of Omagh town and kill 29 people. For this reason
the e-mail was all the more startling because
in it Rupert informed MI5 that a dissident republican
group was planning a car bomb attack in Omagh.
The April car bomb attack in Omagh was eventually
frustrated by Gardai south of the border. However,
MI5 management knew the threat was only postponed
and not extinguished. Within days MI5 e-mailed
Rupert: "We disrupted the intention to use
the car bomb, but maybe not for long". MI5
obviously foresaw the strong likelihood of a renewed
attempt to bomb Omagh. However, MI5 now held the
advantage over the would-be car bombers in that
from as early as April 1998 it knew Omagh was
a likely target for a dissident republican car
e-mails were not the only pre-August 15th information
in MI5's possession which pointed to a dissident
republican attack in Omagh. A second key piece
of intelligence came to light on August 4 when
an anonymous phone-caller warned British intelligence
of a planned dissident republican gun and bomb
attack in Omagh on August 15. MI5 subsequently
claimed that it dismissed this anonymous phone-warning
as a rogue RUC Special Branch call. However, this
was a poor attempt at distraction. The importance
in all of this is that whereas Rupert provided
specific details with regard to the proposed location
of the planned bombing, this phone-warning supplemented
his e-mail intelligence by not only confirming
the location, but also providing the all important
precise date of the planned attack.
the windfall of dissident republican intelligence
did not end there. MI5 possessed a third piece
of high-grade information which indicated that
a car bomb attack was scheduled for mid-August.
Two days before the Omagh bombing, FRU agent Kevin
Fulton met with a Real IRA informant whose clothing,
according to Fulton, was covered in dust particles
of homemade explosives. Fulton correctly suspected
that a car bomb attack was in an advanced stage
of planning. Fulton provided British intelligence
with the agent's name and car registration number.
Yet once again this vital piece of intelligence
perhaps the most startling disclosure concerning
MI5's foreknowledge of Omagh came during the inquest
into the bombing. According to the Sunday Business
Post (26/8/2001) leading British barrister Michael
Mansfield QC, acting for Lawrence Rush, cross-examined
several RUC witnesses. It emerged that a warning
specifying the precise location of the bomb had
not been passed on to local officers in time to
clear the area.
that, we started getting threatening calls. We were
told by the RUC that our name was on a death-list,"
Solicitor Des Doherty said.
RUC also confirmed to Doherty that a newspaper report
of a spy satellite picking out the car used to transport
the bomb was correct.
said. "It is understood that when the RUC
contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation
in America, they produced information from the
suggests that the maroon Vauxhall Cavalier contained
a tracking device which enabled a US GPS satellite
not only to follow the car's movements but also
pinpoint its exact location on the day of the
bombing. At the request of MI5, US intelligence
would have monitored the car as a priority and
would have conveyed this surveillance data to
MI5 without delay. Yet MI5 chose not to relay
this information to RUC officers on the ground
on August 15. Furthermore, the presence of a tracking
device on the maroon Vauxhall Cavalier indicates
the involvement of an MI5 agent in the planning
or the execution of the Omagh bombing, at some
point between the unlawful procurement of the
maroon Vauxhall Cavalier and the detonation of
the explosives on August 15.
the Omagh bombing MI5 ordered Rupert out of Ireland
as a matter of urgency. An August 16 MI5 e-mail
instructed Rupert to "insulate yourself from
the Gardai" [MI5 to David Rupert, E-mail
305, 16-08-98]. Later that night Rupert was ordered
to: "Collect tickets at Belfast City Airport...You'll
be here [London] for two nights. We need to talk.
It's extremely important" [MI5 to David Rupert,
E-mail 329, 17-08-98]. Rupert's MI5 handlers obviously
feared that their agent might be gripped as part
of a massive cross-border investigation and that
- if placed under sufficient pressure - Rupert
might disclose the prior bomb warning he had conveyed
to MI5 in early April in relation to Omagh. Indeed
all of Rupert's MI5 e-mails on Omagh were subsequently
withheld from Nuala O'Loan when she conducted
her large-scale investigation into the intelligence
background to the tragic bombing. By late August
1998 there were a number of skeletons inside MI5's
now know MI5 possessed four pieces of high-grade
intelligence which forewarned of a dissident republican
car bomb attack in Omagh on August 15. The earliest
intelligence data was dated 11 April. Then came
the anonymous August 4 phone-call, Kevin Fulton's
August 13 intelligence report and finally the
satellite monitoring of the Vauxhall Cavalier
arising from a tracking device planted by a British
agent involved in the Omagh bombing. Yet notwithstanding
this avalanche of intelligence MI5 made no attempt
to intercept the bomb How can this operational
decision be rationally explained? What was the
motivation of MI5 management? Did British intelligence
want to protect the identity of its agent at all
costs? Or was this yet another "securocrat"
plot to subvert the peace?
management did not want to scupper the peace process,
but it did want to protect the identity of its agent
and, at the same time, drive - what it hoped would
be - the final nail into physical force republicanism
at an exceptionally sensitive time in the Irish