In 1977, on this day Labour Leader James Callaghan issued a statement to the House of Commons. The Prime Minister's remarks concluded an internal inquiry into allegations made by former Leader Harold Wilson in an article published in the Observer newspaper in July. Sensationally, Callaghan's predecessor claimed that a faction in the Secret Service had bugged his office at Downing Street; "There is a whispering campaign against me" said Wilson.
Open SecretCallaghan dismissed the allegations, reporting that ~ "The Prime Minister has conducted detailed inquiries into the recent allegations about the Security Service and is satisfied that they do not constitute grounds for lack of confidence in the competence and impartiality of the Security Service, or for instigating a special inquiry. In particular, the Prime Minister is satisfied that at no time has the Security Service or any other British intelligence or security agency, either of its own accord or at someone else's request, undertaken electronic surveillance in 10 Downing Street or in the Prime Minister's room in the House of Commons".
"Go to the Charing Cross Road and kick a blind man standing on the corner. That blind man may tell you something, lead you somewhere..". ~ Harold WilsonWilson's conviction that he had been under constant electronic surveillance during his second term in office (1974-1976) was widely known inside Whitehall. He would shush visitors dramatically, finger on lips, pointing at the light fittings where he believed bugs to have been planted. Then director of the CIA, George Bush emerged from a meeting at Downing Street expressing amazement that "He did nothing but complain about being spied on!".
Ten years later, former Security Service officer Peter Wright published "Spycatcher", revealing that British intelligence had compelling evidence that Wilson was a Soviet agent. And the KGB assassinated his predecessor Hugh Gaitskell so as to manoeuvre Wilson into power.
A fresh internal inquiry ordered by the Service's then-Director General, Sir Anthony Duff. Dame Stella Rimington, concluded: "The Director General has also advised me that Lord Wilson was the subject of a Security Service investigation and multiple forms of electronic and other surveillance by the Security Service".