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Andrew Fulton, member of the secret MI6Lockerbie briefing team chief was British intelligence agent

THE SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY 21/05/00 A Glasgow University law professor employed to brief the world's press on the Lockerbie trial was one of Britain's most powerful MI6 officers.The former diplomat is about to be dumped by the Lockerbie trial briefing unit at Glasgow University after it was severely embarrassed by the exposure of his past career as a high-ranking MI6 officer. Andrew Fulton, a visiting professor at Glasgow’s school of law, is the co-ordinator of the unit which was set up to provide ‘impartial and objective’ legal information for anyone following the trial of the two Libyans at the special Scottish court in the Netherlands.

Professor Andrew Fulton now faces being removed from his prestigious job following an investigation by the Sunday Herald into his spying past. The university set up the unit to inform the world's press about developments in the trial of the two Libyans accused of killing 270 people when PanAm Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in December 1988.

But Fulton, 56, who has been at Camp Zeist explaining proceedings to journalists, is now regarded as being hopelessly compromised by an alleged intelligence connection which was formed during 30 years with the Foreign Office in Vietnam, Italy, Germany, Norway, and finally America. He is included on a list of MI6 officers published on the internet last year by a disaffected agent. It is understood that Fulton is in the Highlands and could not be contacted for comment yesterday, but he did not deny the MI6 link when asked directly by a journalist earlier, saying only that he had worked for the government for three decades.

Fulton’s last diplomatic posting before becoming attached to Glasgow University 18 months ago was as a counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington at the time when the Foreign Office was involved in delicate negotiations to allow the trial to go ahead. The concern now is that Fulton may be in a position to influence the way the trial is reported to ensure the minimum of criticism for the activities of the British, and possibly the American, intelligence services.

Since in the intelligence world loyal MI6 officers cannot acknowledge their status, even if Fulton was to deny it outright, the suspicion would not be removed. University insiders believe his association with the briefing unit greatly prejudices its credibility. Professor John Grant, the director of the unit, said: "I have not yet spoken to Professor Fulton but I find it offensive that we are now the story when a major criminal trial is trying to determine who is responsible for the deaths of 270 people. "The talk is that we have been infiltrated but we should be focusing on the trial. Everybody has got the thing upside down."

The revelations that Fulton, who was also at one stage involved in an MI6 plot to assassinate Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, was one of the most high-ranking spies in the UK will seriously undermine claims by the Lockerbie trial briefing unit that it has been giving independent and impartial advice. It will also further erode public confidence in the trial.

When the Sunday Herald con fronted him, Fulton said: "This is not something I can either confirm or deny. I cannot give a yes or a no. What I will say is I had an adventurous 30-year career in Her Majesty's diplomatic service, and did a variety of things. But all government servants are bound not to speak about any duties or tasks they may have undertaken."

The defence team for the two accused Libyans are horrified by Fulton's involvement in the briefing unit. A number of news organisations who have been informed about Fulton's past have said unofficially that they will no longer use the unit as a source of information. During the first week of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in Holland, Fulton led a lengthy briefing session for more than 50 foreign journalists at a hotel near the courthouse, detailing aspects of Scottish law and explaining the background to the case.

The Scottish Executive also gave the unit, including Fulton, accreditation to enter the strictly-controlled media centre at Camp Zeist. A Glasgow University spokesman said: "There was a limit to what the Executive was able to do when they were at Zeist. I think they were glad we were able to fill in for them and speak to the press when their liaison people were too busy." At least one representative of the unit will be at Camp Zeist throughout the trial. Grant will return to Holland on Monday, when the trial recommences. Until today, senior academics were delighted with the exposure the unit's work had given the university. "We were in all the international papers," a spokesman said. "You can't pay for that kind of coverage." However, revelations about Fulton's past will destroy any PR gains.

The Scottish Executive said the Glasgow unit "did nothing for or with" the Executive, claiming any accreditation given to the unit to attend the trial was meant for organisations not individuals. A spokesman refused to comment on Fulton's spying career, as did the Crown Office. Roseanna Cunningham, the SNP's shadow justice minister, said: "There are serious issues at stake here if a former member of the intelligence service is being used as a talking head to explain the Lockerbie trial to the world's press. If the unit is meant to be impartial, then it should be open about its members' activities."

The US Department of Justice's Office of Victims of Crime said its officials had met Fulton but were unaware of his background. The office added that his previous career was not relevant to its work.