Guardian Unlimited


Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday July 18, 2004
The Observer

Panic has gripped the British army in Northern Ireland over the leaking of a 'terrorist bible' containing the personal details of leading IRA and loyalist figures.

The security services in the Province have launched a top-level investigation into the theft of the classified document and think it may have fallen into the hands of loyalist terrorists.

The Ulster Defence Association, the largest loyalist terrorist group in Northern Ireland, was believed last night to be in possession of the highly secret army list.

Nationalist politicians have demanded an urgent meeting with either the Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, or his deputy to raise their concerns about the missing dossier.

Security sources in Northern Ireland said yesterday that the document had been stolen from Castlereagh security base in east Belfast.

The theft is connected to a Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation into a possible security breach at Castlereagh in recent weeks. One British soldier has already been questioned about the alleged disappearance of military documents at the holding centre.

If the 'terror bible' document was stolen from Castlereagh it will be the second major breach of security there in two years. It was at the same complex in March 2002 that the PSNI discovered a break-in at the offices of Special Branch.

One senior PSNI officer told The Observer the indications were that the high-grade material missing this time had fallen into loyalist hands.

'It's very worrying if, as the intelligence indicates, the UDA have got their hands on the army's document. It now means the UDA has the details of some key players on the republican side,' he said.
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The inquiry into this latest security breach began on 11 July after two separate searches were carried out on a house in Belfast. The following day the PSNI raided another house in the city as part of their investigation.

Alex Attwood, the SDLP's spokesman on policing, said: 'I intend to raise this with [PSNI deputy chief constable] Paul Leighton. It would be astonishing if there has been a further breach at Castlereagh given past events, and if such a breach has taken place, this has to be evidence of either gross incompetence or more sinister behaviour.'

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