Ministers are accused of cover up in legal case involving ex-ambassador to Washington: Government lawyers will ask that evidence relating to claim Lord Darroch leaked intelligence to his alleged lover is heard behind closed doors
- Lord Darroch is claimed to have been in a relationship with Michelle Kosinsk
Ministers were last night accused of trying to use national security laws to keep secret details of an explosive legal case involving Britain’s former ambassador to Washington.
Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal how Government lawyers will formally request that evidence related to a claim that Lord Darroch leaked intelligence to his alleged lover be heard behind closed doors.
A senior civil servant is suing two Cabinet Ministers – Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly – after he was arrested by 14 counter-terrorism police as part of an investigation into the leak of the so-called Washington files to The Mail on Sunday.
This newspaper disclosed cables and memos written by Lord Darroch when he was our US ambassador.
In them, he described then US President Donald Trump as ‘inept’, ‘insecure’ and ‘incompetent’.
Ministers were last night accused of trying to use national security laws to keep secret details of an explosive legal case involving Britain’s former ambassador to Washington Lord Darroch (pictured)
Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal how Government lawyers will formally request that evidence related to a claim that Lord Darroch leaked intelligence to his alleged lover Michelle Kosinski (pictured) be heard behind closed doors
The story, which made headlines around the world in July 2019, provoked Mr Trump to describe Lord Darroch, then Sir Kim, as a ‘stupid guy’.
The civil servant, who the MoS has agreed not to name, was arrested more than a year later as part of Operation Asperite – the Metropolitan Police’s probe into the leak. He denies leaking the documents and was never charged.
It is claimed his arrest took place just a day after Lord Darroch was warned that another highly embarrassing story was about to appear.
The Sun newspaper informed Lord Darroch it was about to publish allegations that he was under investigation by US authorities for allegedly leaking sensitive information to CNN reporter Michelle Kosinski, who it is claimed, was in a relationship with him.
Ms Kosinski has denied any such affair and denied that she has ever received classified or sensitive information from him.
In court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the civil servant claimed that his arrest ‘was part of a disinformation campaign to protect Lord Darroch and maintain diplomatic prestige’.
He believes his name was given to police by officials in the Foreign Office and Department for International Trade.
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch
The legal documents state: ‘The Police interrogated the Claimant and asked him why his Civil Service colleagues would accuse him of leaking Kim Darroch’s Official Sensitive documents if he did not do it.’
Ms Badenoch and Mr Cleverly are defendants because they are the nominal heads of the two departments involved at the time.
Tory MP David Davis said attempts to keep details of the case secret was ‘a wholly inappropriate use’ of the Justice and Security Act 2013: ‘When Parliament passed this law, members expected the state to use it to deal with real cases of espionage and terrorism, not to cover up potentially embarrassing stories.’
Lord Darroch has never commented on claims of a relationship with Ms Kosinski.
The Department for Business and Trade said it did ‘not wish to provide a comment’.
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