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Sinn Fein MLA demands police probe bugging claim

By Staff Reporter

Published 14/11/2016

Claims: Raymond McCartney
Claims: Raymond McCartney

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney has called for the PSNI to investigate the alleged bugging of his home in 2002 by the British Army and MI5, a Sunday newspaper has reported.

Mr McCartney, a former IRA hunger striker, has been unable to locate an eavesdropping device which he believes was planted in his home and is still there, the Sunday Times has reported. It also reports the existence of the device was exposed when an operations log book was accidentally left on Mr McCartney's kitchen table by a "ghost team" comprising army surveillance officers and an MI5 technician, who is said to have disarmed the alarm system on the MLA's house to gain entry.

Mr McCartney was yesterday unavailable for comment, as was his party's press office.

Details about the undercover surveillance operation were unveiled in the book, Charlie One, by a former army intelligence officer who used the pseudonym Sean Hartnett. Hartnett was a member of North Det, a military unit based in Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly that spied on republicans by breaking into their homes and cars.

In his book, Hartnett says he was involved in the covert operation to bug the MLA's home at the behest of MI5. He claimed he listened to conversations and heard people searching for the device, which he believes remains hidden to this day.

In 2005, workmen renovating his home found a transmitter in a kitchen ceiling cavity. The device had two aerials, batteries and a microphone.

Hartnett said the device hidden in McCartney's home was probably about the size of a cigarette lighter.

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