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Lives put at risk as moles’ details splashed over Net

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British spies’ lives were put in danger today after their true identities were splashed over the Web. A US-based Web site publicly identified agents working for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the nation’s overseas intelligence gathering arm, formerly MI6. Government officials were swift to open an investigation, threatening to remove the information or shut the site down. Editors were this afternoon urged not to publish the URL or the list of names published on it. Rear Admiral David Pulvertaft, defence advisory notice secretary at Whitehall, said: "Such action could put lives at risk." He added: "How the information was obtained is also very worrying." It is unclear if today’s disclosure is related to a similar incident last week, where ex-spy Richard Tomlinson also threatened to publicly reveal Britain’s top moles. The government managed to secure a court injunction on that occasion and closed down his Web site. Former MI6 agent Tomlinson wanted to reveal MI6 names and office locations in revenge for what he saw as an infringement on his freedom. The situation raises fears over the abuse of cyberspace, where publication is generally free and without worry from censorship. ® Click here to email Linda Harrison

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