Gerry Adams threatens to sue BBC over claims about murder of British spy
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has accused state security agents of being behind allegations that he sanctioned the murder of a British spy in the IRA.
Warning of possible legal action against the BBC over the claims about the killing of Denis Donaldson, Mr Adams said he specifically and categorically denied them.
The allegations were made by an anonymous man, who claimed he was also a paid state agent in the IRA, to BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme.
Mr Donaldson, 55, a Sinn Fein official and close colleague of Mr Adams, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal in April 2006 following his exposure as a British spy.
"That the BBC would broadcast unsubstantiated allegations from an anonymous person, a self-confessed agent, about me, I think it very, very low journalism indeed," Mr Adams said.
He added: "If my legal advisers give me the type of guidance that I require I will sue them. I'm not reluctant to sue.
"I have taken a number of cases against various periodicals, I got a number of corrections and apologies from a number of outlets.
"If my legal advisers tell me I have a case then I will take a case."
Mr Adams said British state security agents opposed to Sinn Fein's grip on power were behind the claims, adding that the IRA was on ceasefire at the time of the killing.
"I was shocked and surprised when I heard about Denis Donaldson's murder," he said.
"The Garda investigation is ongoing, they clearly are following a line that it was dissident republicans."
Dissident republican group the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the murder in 2008 but the circumstances surrounding Mr Donaldson's outing as a British agent and subsequent death have long been shrouded in mystery.
The man interviewed by Spotlight said the IRA was responsible for the murder and Mr Adams sanctioned it.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness branded the allegation against his party colleague "total rubbish".
"The fact is the Donaldson family are actually very close to all of us within the leadership of Sinn Fein," said Stormont's Deputy First Minister.
"And I think the fact that dissident republicans claimed responsibility for this and it appears for the last 10 years the Garda Siochana in Donegal have been investigating that line of inquiry I think gives total nonsense to the allegation that was made principally by someone who appears to be a paid agent, and I use the word 'agent' in inverted commas."
He said the documentary lacked credibility and insisted the claims would not damage Sinn Fein.
"Sinn Fein have had to deal with programmes like this for the last 30-odd years," he said.
"The important thing for us is the wisdom and intelligence of the electorate is there for everybody to see. Even against the backdrop of recurring programmes over 30 years, just a few weeks ago the electorate returned us with the DUP to take the government of the north further on, so I don't believe it's going to damage Sinn Fein in the least."
Mr Adams's party colleague Gerry Kelly dismissed the documentary as a "collection of discredited conspiracy theories".
"The programme makers have had no regard for the feelings of families of the victims of the conflict, including the family of Denis Donaldson," said the North Belfast Assembly member.