Surveillance claims over Boston College tapes reported to Irish police

Surveillance claims over Boston College tapes reported to Irish police

Wife of ex-IRA prisoner involved in recordings has asked Garda to investigate phone and email spying allegations

Henry McDonald, Ireland Correspondent
The Guardian
Friday 23 May 2014

The wife of an ex-IRA prisoner who was the key researcher involved with the controversial Boston College archive tapes has complained to the Irish police that her phone and email communications are being spied on.

Carrie Twomey told the Guardian on Friday night she wants the Garda Síochána to investigate her claims that her family are being subjected to electronic surveillance.

Her husband Anthony McIntyre recorded and collated the recorded testimonies of dozens of former IRA activists, some of whom have claimed on tape that Gerry Adams ordered the death and secret disappearance of mother of ten Jean McConville in 1972.

The Sinn Féin president has always denied any involvement in the kidnapping, killing and covert burial of the widow, who the IRA accused of being a British Army informer.

Since Adams was arrested earlier this month and questioned for four days by detectives about the McConville murder, McIntyre and the founder of the Boston College-Belfast Project, Ed Moloney, have come under sustained verbal attacks. Sinn Féin councillors and their supporters have labelled them “Boston College Touts” – a euphemism for informers.

Twomey said she was certain that her phone calls and emails had been subject to “illegal privacy violations” in recent weeks.

The blogger and writer said a recent communication between herself and the US embassy in Dublin had been compromised and its contents leaked to a Sunday newspaper in Belfast.

“I haven’t a clue who precisely is carrying out the surveillance – it might be the NSA in the States, GCHQ in Britain or even the Provisional IRA’s spying department. But whoever is doing it this is an offence in Irish law and I want the Garda to take it seriously. “

She added that the alleged surveillance was linked to the recent announcement that the Police Service of Northern Ireland wanted to seize all of the Boston College-Belfast Project tapes, even those not related to the McConville murder, which the police currently hold in Belfast.

Ed Moloney has urged the US government to resist police demands that all of the remaining tapes detailing paramilitary testimonies be sent to Belfast.

Moloney said that to allow a raid on “an American college’s private archive will be to undermine a peace deal that was in no small way the product of careful American diplomacy and peace building. The United States has the power to invoke vital foreign policy interests in order to reject this PSNI action.”

The author of a critically acclaimed history of the IRA added: “I also called upon Boston College to vigorously resist this action and to rally the rest of American academia in the cause of research confidentiality.”

Participants in the Belfast Project, both former IRA members and ex loyalist paramilitaries, are currently involved in legal action to take back their tapes. Many of the loyalists want the material destroyed fearing future arrests over past Troubles-related crimes. All of those who took part agreed to do so on the condition that the tapes would not be released until they were dead.

If the PSNI seizes all of the Boston College archive material it could lead to dozens of veteran IRA and loyalist paramilitaries being arrested.

Twomey said: “These claims now circulating are a direct result of a phone conversation I had with the embassy on Wednesday 14 May, 2014 and subsequent email correspondence sent Thursday 15 May, 2014, in which I highlighted the heightened risk to our safety and the safety of the participants in the project as a result of Sinn Féin’s orchestration.

“That contents/aspects of our communication, however inaccurately spun, appeared days later in a Sunday tabloid is a matter of serious concern, not least because of the privacy violations and increased risk it indicates.

“I have requested from the [US] State Department a formal investigation into how information that I had raised our safety with the embassy last week ended up in the papers. Either our phone/email is compromised, or the embassy’s communications are, and/or there has been a serious breach of protocol and illegal privacy violations have occurred.”