PT/35(b) TIMELINE PART III. 15/06/1990 – December 1991

This page documents the investigative steps taken in relation to the fragment PT/35(b) since its identification on 15 June 1990.

The reader must understand that this is the official timeline reconstructed and wholly accepted by the SCCRC.

DM141-P336

DM141-P336

15 June 1990

According to the FD-302 of Tom Thurman that is provided with the police report, he
received K1 from Richard Sherrow of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
Lab on this date.

This position is clearly inaccurate, as was discovered during the precognition process. In fact Sherrow gave the timer K1 to the CIA in late 1987 and it was in CIA possession until June 1990.

John Orkin of the CIA was the person who identified the similarity between PT/35(b) and K-l, not Thurman. There are further details of this in chapter 8 of the statement of reasons.

19 June 1990

According to the HOLMES statement of Henderson (S4710J) on 19 June 90, he
learned that FBI officers at the explosives lab in Washington had identified an area on
a timer in their possession – K1, DP/84 – which they thought was identical to
PT/35(b).

According to his HOLMES statement (BS), on this date Williamson was told by
Henderson to contact Thomas Thurman, who Williamson knew had received a
photograph of PT/35(b) (which the statement records was not a production) and a
copy of Williamson’s prepared descriptive report DP/141.

22 June 1990

According to the HOLMES statements of Williamson (S872BS), Henderson (S4710J)
and CI John McLean (S5320I) the three of them accompanied Allen Feraday to the
Washington office of the FBI on this date, where Thurman showed them a series of
photos of a timing device. All the HOLMES statements record this timer had a
fibreglass circuit board identical in colour to the fragment and that part of the circuit
pattern appeared identical. They record that later the same day they went to the
Explosives lab in the FBI HQ and the officers were present when Feraday carried out
an examination and comparison of the timing device K-1 (DP/84). Williamson and
Henderson’s statements record that Feraday had photographs taken of the two items
together. All three statements record that the officers each viewed the two items and
noted the construction of the K-1 timer, including the designation MST-13 on the
green board and a smaller white circuit board that had a mark or logo with the letters
MEBQ or MEBO, which were still discernible despite evidence of an attempt to erase
them. McLean and Williamson’s statements record that McLean noted the letters of
this mark/logo in a notepad he was carrying (said not to be a production). Williamson
and Henderson’s statements record that they learnt the timer had been recovered by a
US agency in Togo in 1986. Further details of this are contained in chapter 8 of the
statement of reasons.

Williamson was asked about the trip to Washington in evidence. He confirmed that
label prod 420 was the timer Thurman had shown them. He was referred to image 62
in prod 282 (photos of the timer taken in Togo) which depicted the white circuit board
and he said that at a particular mark on the board he saw what he thought was
“MEBQ [these letters are not at all obvious in the photo shown in evidence, but
Williamson confirmed that he was able to see them at the time with the naked eye].

As regards Williamson, his memo of 3 September 1990 to the SIO summarises all the
investigations on the timer to that date. It refers to the trip to the FBI Explosives Lab
in Washington on 22 June 1990, and to being shown by Thurman a timing device. It
states that Feraday was sufficiently satisfied that the circuitry matched the fragment,
but to be conclusive the timing device and the fragment would require to be further
examined under his own lab conditions at RARDE. The memo then has a description
of the K-1 timer and the various components, including an account of the manufacture
of these components (presumably this information was obtained through
investigations conducted between 22 June and 3 September 1990). There is no
reference to the MEBO/MEBQ mark, all that is said of the white circuit board is that
it appears to be additional to the original manufacture of the timing device and is
subject of further investigation.

In his ch10 CP Feraday recalled going to Washington and identified the date as 22
June 90 from his report. He recalled Henderson and McLean being there but not
Williamson. He described Thurman “sweating off’ the wire attached to the relay pad
to allow an accurate comparison. He also described there being an argument over
who should handle what – the Americans wanted the fragment, the Brits wanted the
timer. Feraday insisted on photos being taken there and then; he took 4 Polaroids
away and later got 8 Kodak photos from Thurman which Thurman had taken in
– Feraday’s presence -prod 1756 (DC11803 they include all 12 of the photos taken).

Feraday then said that he recalled noticing the mark on the secondary circuit which read MEBQ, as he thought at the time. He said “At that stage, the writing meant nothing to me.”

The precognoscer’s note records that this contrasts sharply with Williamson’s
recollection that Feraday had said he knew the company involved. In both
Williamson’s precognitions he is recorded as saying Feraday indicated that he
recognised the name, and in the first precognition he thought Feraday went off to try
and find the reference when they returned from Washington. See the accounts of both
witnesses to the Commission for their respective positions on this issue (see appendix
of Commission interviews).

See also entry under 15 July 1991 below and chapter 8 of the statement of reasons re
the suggestion that at this meeting on 22 June 1990 Thurman was already aware of
MEBO.

As at 22 June 1990, the connection was confirmed between the fragment and the
MST-13 timer recovered from Togo. Therefore, investigations turn to identifying the
manufacturer of the Togo timer. See chapter 8 of the statement of reasons re the
delay of over 2 months until the link to MEBO was established.

Around 4-12 July 1990

FBI agents Marshman and Bolcar were in Senegal to enquire about the MST timer that had been recovered there in February 1988.

11-20 July 1990

Williamson and L-J (Langford-Johnson) were in Senegal to enquire about the MST timer that had been recovered there.

14-17 August 1990

According to L-J’s Crown precognition, on this date he and John Crawford attended
the premises of Temparton Limited in Reading in possession of a photograph of the
MST-13 timer which at the time was in possession of the FBI. L-J’s notebook (prod
1766) also mentions this enquiry.

It suggests that he and Crawford drove to Reading on 14 August but only visited Tempatron (note different spelling to CP) on 15″, and that they then went to Teny (Security Consultants) Ltd, specialists in safe time locks before returning to Tempatron on 16 August and on 17 August attending at the Anti-Terrorist branch, New Scotland Yard, and meeting DC Titchener regarding enquiries about the NYMPH crystal and the Duracell 6 volt battery.

There are no HOLMES statements of L-J or of the various witnesses mentioned in his
notebook regarding his enquiries on 14- 17 August 1990.

Some time prior to 3 September 1990

In Williamson’s memo to the SIO dated 3/9/90, he summarised the various enquiries
that had been conducted in relation to the timer fragment, including the visit to
Washington on 22 June 1990 and the link to the timing device. He records a detailed
description of the timing device, then lists the operating components displayed on the
printed circuit board. It is apparent that the various details he lists relating to each of
the components must have come from enquiries conducted after 22 June 1990 but
before the date of the memo. He lists details of the manufacturer of the Nymph
Quartz crystal, the integrated circuit boards and the relay switch.

Some time prior to 6 September 1990

In Williamson’s memo to the SIO of 6/9/90, he listed various companies that had been
contacted for assistance in trying to identify the MST-13 timer.

Some time in September 1990 prior to 13 September 1990

According to the HOLMES statements of Henderson (S4710J), Williamson (S872BS)
and John McLean (S5320I) during September 1990 they learnt that MEBO in Zurich
had been identified as manufacturer of the Togo timer K-l (DP/84).

Henderson’s statement says this was discovered “following extensive inquiry”.

There are no further details in the HOLMES statements or police report about how
the connection was made.

This issue is addressed in chapter 8 of the statement of reasons.

13 September 1990

According to Gilchrist’s statement S2749K (see also statement R) he met Swiss
officials in Zurich. His CP indicates this was with Mr A and a special branch officer.

According to the disclosure letter from the Crown to the defence dated 23 April 2000,
the CIA had met with Swiss officials the day before.

18 September – 1 October 1990

DS Avent and DI McAteer travelled to Togo to investigate the circumstances of
recovery of the Togo timer and recover any other items or papers re this.

19 September 1990

A Commission Rogatoire was submitted to Swiss authorities by the Lord Advocate
seeking enquiries to be made at MEBO.

2 October 1990

According to the CP of FBI agent Richard Marquise, a meeting took place between
security agencies to resolve “political difficulties” about the enquiries that were being
made in Switzerland, and at the end of the meeting the CIA agreed to “back off” the
enquiry.

See further detail in chapter 8 of the statement of reasons.

8-10 October 1990

PT/35, DP/10, DP/11, DP/12, DP/15, DP/16 and DP/31 were all returned to RARDE
by Brim McManus, according to LPS form 438.

Although there is no signature of any RARDE individual on the LPS form confirming receipt, the RARDE movement records confirm that on 10/10/90, Goulding received all these items.

9 October 1990

Williamson prepared a photograph of the timer fragment (DP/142) with areas shaded
on it to show where fragments had been removed from it.

The date on the label for this photograph is 9 October 1990.

18 October 1990

A request for assistance was sent from the US Dept of Justice to the Swiss authorities. Thereafter, enquiries were made in Switzerland with MEBO.

Those enquiries are not detailed in this paper.

Around 4-5 February 1991

Williamson and L-J travelled to France and met Claude Calisti on 4 Feb and Jean
Collin on 5 Feb (see L-J’s notebook, prod 1766).

5 March 1991

McManus (S3070DQ) and SIO Henderson (S47101) seized DP/84 (the Togo timer)
from Thurman at Crown Office, Edinburgh.

9 April 1991

McManus (S3070DQ) conveyed DP/84 to RARDE for examination.

8-22 July 1991 (Feraday’s query re DP/11)

On 8 July Feraday sent a memo to the SIO re DP/11 (a copy of the memo was obtained
at Dstl). In the memo Feraday stated that in examining DP/11 it was obvious to him
that it did not originate from PT/35(b) because PT/35(b) was 1.6mm thick, whereas
DP/11 was only 1.0mm thick; PT/35(b) had green solder mask applied on one side,
DP/11 was white (translucent) with no solder masks; and the former was 9 layers of
glass cloth whereas the latter only had 6.

In a memo from DC Entwistle (D7899) to the SIO dated 15 July 1991 he states that
8 and 9 July 1991 were fully taken up with the research anomaly regarding DP/11,
and it is suggested that DCI Bell had given the SIO full details of this.

A request for information was made to D&G regarding Feraday’s memo. Its response
was to refer to Allan Worroll’s statement S5586 and his description of having repotted
and re-ground DP/11 (see 11 April 1990, above). D&G stated that Worroll’s
work removed some of the layers from DP/11 which was why Feraday questioned its
origin – it is suggested that when Feraday examined the item he was not aware of the
grinding process.

It is stated that in response to Feraday’s query, Bell and Williamson visited Ferranti on 11 July 1991 and arranged for further scanning and photography on DP/11 on 16 July 1991 by Ian Barber (on this occasion it was DS Lanford-Johnson and DC McManus that went to Ferranti (Langford Johnson’s notebooks were productions at trial (1765 and 1766), but they stop in April 1991)), and this was done a to confirm the presence of tin and lead for the benefit of Mr Feraday.

There are apparently no statements for this visit, but it is consistent with the
RARDE movement records, which record DP/11 as having been despatched by Feraday
on 9/7/91 and received back by him on 22/7/91. D&G’s letter also enclosed document D7900, a memo relating to the visit to Ferranti. At interview with the Commission Mr Feraday was asked about the concerns he raised about DP/11 and confirmed that he had not known at the time he sent the memo that DP/11 had been ground down (see appendix
of Commission interviews).

Note also that there are records in the SEM photograph log book and job register
recording SEM photos of DP/11 taken around this time (see appendix to chapter 6).

10 July 1991

According to a police memorandum from DC Entwistle to the SIO dated 15 July
1991, on 10 July Allen Feraday produced a copy of the CIA report on the Chad device
(prod 285 at trial) obtained from R Seaney, head of ECI Division. Feraday
apparently said Seaney was unable to find the similar document relating to the Togo
timer (prod 284) but 15 minutes later Seaney asked Feraday to his office and
produced a copy of that timer report. It appears from the memo that Seaney held
those reports and that his departmental electronics engineer, Jim Finlay, had access to
them.

The memo states that Feraday said that “in the early days” Feraday had asked Finlay if he had any knowledge of timers/PCB of green variety which was answered
in the negative. Feraday felt that if the documents had been available to him at the
time it would have been possible to identify PT/35 and its “obvious source” some 14/15 months previous to the date of the memo. A document referred to in the memo suggested that the Chad device report had been sent to Seaney around 10 January 1986. This is a matter discussed with Mr Feraday at interview with the Commission  (see appendix of witness interviews).

The memo also records that, based on the photos Thurman had showed Feraday on 22
June 1990, it was apparent that at that stage Thurman knew about the CIA’s Togo
timer report and presumably also the Chad device report which names MEBO.

The memo records that Feraday recalled studying the photo and attempting to read MEBO
on the device and that he discussed this point with Thurman and decided that it most
likely read MEBQ. Thurman made no comment yet was in possession “of the true
facts”.

Again this was discussed with Feraday at interview with the Commission (see appendix of witness interviews).

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