LONDON — A former Downing Street official has admitted for the first time that Britain was responsible for a James Bond-style spy plot involving a fake rock in Moscow that contained electronic equipment.
Russia accused British diplomats six years ago of using the bizarre scheme to send and receive electronic messages, a charge London had until now denied.
But Jonathan Powell, chief of staff to then-prime minister Tony Blair, told the BBC that Russia had used the incident to bring in a law to crack down on foreign non-governmental organisations.
“There’s not much you can say. The spy rock was embarrassing,” Powell said in a programme to be broadcast by the BBC on Thursday.
“They had us bang to rights.
“Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose.”