British Ex-Embassy Guard Jailed For Spying For Russia
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
LONDON/BERLIN (Worthy News) – A British court has sentenced a former security guard at Britain’s embassy in Berlin to more than 13 years imprisonment for spying for Russia.
David Ballantyne Smith, 58, collected confidential information for over three years in Germany’s capital.
The material includes a “secret” letter from ministers to then-prime minister Boris Johnson and other sensitive documents, according to investigators.
He also filmed several sensitive documents he found in trays, including a November 2020 letter from then-trade minister Liz Truss and then-business minister Alok Sharma to Johnson, which was classified as “secret.”
Smith admitted passing the secret information to the Russian authorities.
He was caught in an undercover German-British sting operation where fake Russian agents offered him the chance to obtain “highly sensitive information,” officials explained.
The operation involved getting an MI5 officer to pose as “Dmitry,” a Russian national assisting Britain.
Smith was later approached by “Irina,” who told him that she needed assistance as someone had “passed information to the British and the information could be damaging to Russia.”
In secret camera footage played to the court, “Irina” asks if Smith can help and if he will meet her again, and he replies: “I need to speak to someone and then, once that person can then confirm something, I’m willing to meet again.”
Judge Wall said Smith “could only have been referring to checking with someone at the Russian embassy to verify that she was genuine” and called it evidence he had an ongoing contact there.
Smith was arrested the day after meeting “Irina” in August 2021. A search of his home in Potsdam, Germany, recovered a USB stick that contained several photos of embassy staff and diplomatic passports, officials said.
However, Smith told the court that he was ashamed of his actions. But Smith claimed he filmed the documents, for instance, after drinking “seven pints of beer” and that it “seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Yet the judge rejected Smith’s claims that he felt remorse, saying: “Your regrets are no more than self-pity.” “You were paid by the Russians for your treachery.” At London’s Old Bailey, Wall sentenced Smith to 13 years and two months in prison.
Smith pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Official Secrets Act involving conduct between 2020 and 2021. But the judge said his “subversive activities” had begun two years earlier.
The spy case comes as tensions between Russia and the West are at their lowest point in generations after Moscow invaded Ukraine last year. Ongoing warfare in Ukraine is believed to have led to increased spying activities on both sides, resembling the previous Cold War era.
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