Stakeknife findings will have Sinn Fein squirming: Beattie
An investigation into the activities of a high-ranking spy inside the republican movement could make for "very uncomfortable reading for those who graduated from the IRA into the ranks of Sinn Fein", according to an Ulster Unionist MLA.
UUP justice spokesman Doug Beattie said that the report from Operation Kenova - the name given to the probe into the agent codenamed Stakeknife - should provide an opportunity to shine a light into the IRA's internal security operations.
Dozens of detectives are probing more than 50 murders linked to Stakeknife, many carried out when he was said to head the Provos' internal security unit known as the 'nutting squad', as part of Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher's investigation.
Last month the High Court heard that he intends to submit evidence he has uncovered of criminal wrongdoing by both IRA and security force members to the Director of Public Prosecutions. West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci denies being the spy.
Mr Beattie said he had recently written to Mr Boutcher.
He said: "Given the widespread concerns that exist about the imbalance in legacy investigations, especially in regards to the proposals on the establishment of the HIU, I sought assurances that no On-The-Run letters or Royal Prerogatives of Mercy, pardons, or any other mechanism would prevent him from reporting the truth.
"I understand that he plans to hand a file to the Public Prosecution Service later this year and then follow that up with a public facing report. It will then be up to the PPS to decide if there should be any prosecutions.
"I hope that Operation Kenova, as was promised by Jon Boutcher and the then Attorney General, shines a light into the IRA's so-called 'internal security' operations and its 'army council'.
"It should provide an opportunity to identify those high ranking IRA figures who were directing this reign of terror on the innocent victims in Northern Ireland and further afield.
"This could well make very uncomfortable reading for those who graduated from the IRA into the ranks of Sinn Fein.
"Jon Boutcher has announced that he will stand down from his position as Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police in July 2019, but will continue solely with Operation Kenova.
"This means that the operation is likely to continue well beyond its final report date looking at issues connected with, but outside, Operation Kenova's terms of reference."