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British embassy Berlin security guard David Smith has confessed to gathering intelligence and leaking classified Russian documents.
where he worked for eight years. Smith's lawyer told the court that the defendant disputed the prosecution's presentation of his motives.
Smith pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to eight charges under the Official Secrets Act, for which he faces up to 14 years in prison. The prosecution has said it will not seek trial on the ninth charge, which Smith denies.
It is said that he wanted to live in Russia or Ukraine at the time he was transmitting classified data from May 2020. Prosecutors said he was motivated by intense hatred of his country and angered by the raising of the rainbow flag in support of the LGBT community.
military attaché based at the Russian embassy in Berlin in 2020 and provided information on the addresses, phone numbers and activities of various British government officials.
He collected information about the work and layout of the embassy, which was said to be useful “to the enemy, namely the Russian state.” Some of these materials were classified as “secret” and related to the activities of the British government and its embassy in Germany.
As a security guard, David Smith did not have access to top secret material at the embassy, but the material he handed over or collected could still be very useful to Russians. This could potentially help identify undercover British intelligence officers at the embassy and any agents they met.
Surveillance details could also potentially help Russian spies figure out how to run their own operations against the embassy and gather its secrets .
Smith's lawyers understandably dispute the prosecution's claims about his motives, but disgruntled employees have historically often been the most effective recruits for spy services. The case could also raise questions about the checks being made on locally recruited employees like Smith.
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