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Alleged MI5 agent's arrest will halt NIRA's operations... permanently

Dissident group is 'compromised'

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David Rupert relaxes in protected custody in a secret location in the United States. He is believed to have earned more than $1 million from his work as a double agent

David Rupert relaxes in protected custody in a secret location in the United States. He is believed to have earned more than $1 million from his work as a double agent

Reporter Patricia Devlin, pictured at one of the two houses used by the leadership of the New IRA, which was bugged with the help of an alleged agent in its ranks.

Reporter Patricia Devlin, pictured at one of the two houses used by the leadership of the New IRA, which was bugged with the help of an alleged agent in its ranks.

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David Rupert relaxes in protected custody in a secret location in the United States. He is believed to have earned more than $1 million from his work as a double agent

AN IRA super-spy has said "everything and everyone" connected to an alleged agent linked to a dissident terror group probe is now "compromised".

David Rupert, who took down Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt in one of the biggest undercover agent operations in history, said he also believes the New IRA could be "finished".

Mr Rupert (69) was speaking after top Saoradh member Dennis McFadden was named in court as an alleged MI5 agent.

The 62-year-old, who is originally from Scotland, is suspected of arranging bugged terror meetings as part of a joint MI5/PSNI investigation targeting the dissident group.

In a strikingly similar case to that of the US-born republican sympathiser who turned state witness in the early 2000s, McFadden is believed to have infiltrated the New IRA as a security force agent.

The Scot, who worked as a police officer in Glasgow in his early 20s, had business interests here and had embedded himself with various causes and clubs closely linked to dissident figures.

A regular at anti-internment and prison protests, he is said to have transported people to secret venues where police obtained visual and audio recordings of the gatherings.

Eight men and two women have so far been charged in connection with the MI5-led operation, linked to two meetings in Co. Tyrone in February and July.

The 62-year-old is now understood to be in protective custody after leaving his north Belfast home.

Impact

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday World from his witness protection hideaway in the US, Rupert said the impact of a suspected supergrass within the New IRA ranks will shake the terror group for some time.

"I don't know the details of the operation or arrests, that having been said I suspect it will halt their operations for some time, if not permanently," he said.

"Everything and everyone that has been near the agent has to be considered compromised and, as I understand, he was pretty central in the group.

"While the New IRA is trying to sort that problem out it will be creating a bigger electronic footprint, which will lead to more intelligence against them.

"Armed conflict is past its use-by date, there is so much electronic surveillance available today it can't succeed.

"If there is a criminal group there is going to be an effort to infiltrate, whether it be a republican group or a bunch of ODCs (ordinary decent criminals)."

He added: "The time has past for violence, these groups have no place in a modern society.

"I would be the first one to agree with the tenets of Irish republicanism, but it needs to be gained in negotiations and not by the bullet and bomb."

Danger

Describing his own decision to become a FBI/MI5 agent who made it to the heart of the Real IRA, Rupert said: "I was aware of the danger, I might not have been aware to the extent I would become involved.

"At the end of the day it was a job to me, I was a contracted agent, my mindset was that of one of a law enforcement person.

"Any day of my tenure with the security forces I could have quit unlike most of the agents that are there due to being under threat of incarceration for some other crime."

The bankrupt Illnois-based businessman was recruited as a paid informant in New York during the early '90s, before being sent to Ireland as an FBI/MI5 agent.

For years he climbed up the ranks of the Real IRA, gaining the confidence of terror leaders.

He was so trusted by the dissident group he was asked to bring in bomb-making equipment and move money to fund terror.

All the time Rupert, who had countless girlfriends and was married four times, was being bankrolled by the FBI - to the tune of $1.25 million - to hand over intelligence on dissidents. He went on to identify more than 100 Real IRA members.

A dissident death threat made against him after his double-agent role was revealed is "still active".

He remains under armed FBI guard at secret location in the US.

Mr Rupert's evidence led to terror chief Michael McKevitt being jailed for 20 years.

The court heard how McKevitt claimed he had taken 98 per cent of CIRA members, all of the Real IRA, along with some INLA and Provos, into the new terror network. McKevitt, who was diagnosed with cancer while in prison, was released in 2016 after serving 15 years.

David Rupert relaxes in protected custody in a secret location in the United States. He is believed to have earned more than $1million from his work as a double agent

Irish Independent