NAMED: SKRIPAL’S HANDLER
The activities and role of former MI6 officer Pablo Miller has become a focal point in the investigation into the poisoning and attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.
The British government persuaded the UK media not to publish Miller’s name by issuing a D-Notice to editors which is advisory and has no legal powers, and a LinkedIn profile is no longer available. But we have established that Miller was a close friend and business associate of Skripal.
Miller retired from MI6 in February 2015, but remained Skripal’s handler on behalf of British intelligence and they met every month at the Cote Brasserie restaurant in Salisbury. Staff at the restaurant remember Miller as the ‘man in the tweed suit’ who frequently met with Skripal, raising the possibility that the Russian agent was still involved in intelligence work.
The two agents spoke to each other in Russian and English during their regular meetings. They discussed ‘business’ trips to Poland, suggesting Skripal may not have severed all his ties to the intelligence community, although he could well have been involved in private commercial deals.
The LinkedIn profile for Miller is no longer available. A summary of his profile viewed by CNN revealed that he lived in Salisbury and specialized in the former Soviet Union, Russia and Eastern Europe.
As a MI6 officer, Miller was based in Estonia between 1997 and 2002 where, the Russians allege, he carried out espionage work. According to LinkedIn, he graduated from Oxford University in 1982 with a degree in Modern Languages and History, and subsequently attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the British Army’s officer training academy. He was commissioned into the Royal Tank Regiment and served in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Brunei.
Miller was a MI6 officer for 20 years and in June 2015, he received the Order of the British Empire, an honor awarded “for service to British foreign policy.” While it is common for intelligence agents to work under diplomatic cover, foreign ministries rarely confirm such arrangements.
After “retiring” to Salisbury, Miller remained active. “He enjoys a wealth of experience and expertise in the management of high-end insider threat risks,” the LinkedIn biography stated and added intriguingly: “Pablo Miller continues to work part-time for the Foreign Office on a contract basis.”
There is an old saying that MI6 officers never retire and Miller appears to have confirmed this axim.