An alleged MI6 station chief in Athens has been recalled to Britain “for his own safety” after being identified by a Greek newspaper.
It reported that he had taken part in the abduction and brutal interrogation of Pakistanis.
As the Government placed a gag order to stop British media from naming the alleged spy, who is officially accredited as a diplomat, a well-placed Greek security source said his recall was “not done as punishment or as retribution of any kind for the unfavourable turn of events”.
He added: “It is more of a standard precautionary measure because his intelligence role can no longer be effective in Greece.”
The Foreign Office declined to comment yesterday. It merely noted that Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, had previously dismissed as “utter nonsense” claims by the Pakistani workers to have been beaten by British and Greek counter-terrorism officers last July as they investigated links to the London bombings.
One claimed he had a gun put in his mouth as he was questioned about telephone calls to London and Pakistan.
Proto Thema, a Greek magazine, said the MI6 station chief had taken part in the interrogations with a second MI6 officer who was not named.
It also unmasked 15 Greek intelligence officials in revelations denounced by Athens as illegal “because they endanger national security”.
Greek authorities said they had had to recall two of their intelligence agents from Kosovo.
The alleged spy has previously been identified as an MI6 officer on the internet and in allegations made by Richard Tomlinson, a renegade MI6 officer.
Seven of the 28 detainees, who say they were held for several days then set free without charge, have lodged official complaints in Athens.