“His CV is really impeccable”

As previously mentioned, Jonathan Evans officially takes on his new role tomorrow. The BBC reports on the “flock of rarely seen spooks” which descended on London this week as the out-going director, Eliza Manningham-Buller, marked the end of her four-and-a-half years as head of MI5. And there’s a colourful description of Jonathan Evan’s previous experience, which would seem to confirm his role in NI as an agent-handler.

Crispin Black, a security expert and former intelligence officer, said Mr Evans’ was well qualified for the top job. “His CV is really impeccable,” he said. “He was part of the reorganisation of MI5 in the 1980s so he knows how to reorganise things,” he said. “He was an agent-handler in Northern Ireland in the 90s, so he’s walked around Belfast with a raincoat and a revolver. And more recently he was appointed head of [international counter-terrorism] G-branch.”

Adds The FBI director from 1993 to 2001, Louis Freeh, has recently referred to “the long and painful history” of MI5’s operations in Northern Ireland.