Secret documents found in the private office of Moussa Koussa, former head of Libya’s intelligence service, revealed that MI6 and Scotland Yard were involved in an intelligence operation to protect the son of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, the second most wanted in Libya after Gaddafi, from terror plot. The British intelligence services insisted the plot was connected to Qatar, now the Western powers’ leading Arab ally in Libya war.
MI6 immediately made contact with the French intelligence services after Libyan officials insisted that a terrorist group having links to Qatar was plotting to attack Saif from Paris. French officials told their British counterparts at the time that the Qatari Interior Minister had links with the extremist groups.
Details of former Libyan regime’s bid to ask for help from Britain to protect Saif were revealed in a letter from a senior MI6 official to his Libyan counterpart in the regime’s department of international relations. The letter was among the leaked documents found in Koussa’s, former spymaster, office in Tripoli.
MI6 expressed its willingness to protect Saif in the letter, which was dated January 20 2004, saying: “We have passed the details regarding the threat to Saif to our French counterparts. They have advised us that they do not have any traces on the individuals in the report and that there is no indication that they are in France.”
“The report has been passed on to the Metropolitan Police Special Branch and Saif has been placed on their at-risk register. The police have visited Saif to discuss the threat with him and he appears content with the measures being taken,” the letter added.
Other files referred to Saif’s role in establishing a good relationship with the Western governments, such as the revelations about nuclear program in Libya and a libel case against the Sunday Telegraph.
His role in pushing the Libyan regime to lose its “pariah status” was regarded as “highly constructive and welcome” in one British document. A senior British security official considered the need for Saif’s defamation action against The Sunday Telegraph in 2002, as an “unfortunate matter which had, thankfully, been concluded.” The British newspaper had accused the dictator’s son of being part of money-laundering fraud.
Saif al-Islam had said in an interview that he had urged his father to surrender his efforts to build an armory of weapons of mass destruction and to work together with the US and Britain. He had considered himself as a “troubleshooter” in relations with British and American officials. “I was able to take messages to my father and explain to him. By the end, we had a good relationship with the CIA, MI6 and all the Americans and British,” Saif said.
A leading British official praised Saif’s part in a letter in September 2004 claiming “Saif’s contribution in the ongoing dialogue is highly constructive. We are making good progress and his encouragement is welcome.”
Now the British government is launching air strikes in the Libyan capital to kill their former “trouble shooter” for his part in attacking the Libyan demonstrators.