Gareth Williams: 'backroom boy' spy was really a high-flier

Gareth Williams: 'backroom boy' spy was really a high-flier
Gareth Williams: 'backroom boy' spy was really a high-flier

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By Gordon Thomas
29 Aug 2010

The Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham is Britain's 
last great secret. Now it is in the focus of intense speculation among 
its stunned staff. Never before has one of their own been murdered. In 
GCHQ's cafes, the seating area around the lawn at the core of the 
doughnut-shaped building and behind anonymous doors simply marked "No 
admission", the same question continues to be asked: who murdered Gareth 
Williams -- and why?

Despite his widow's-peak haircut and geeky smile, he worked at the 
cutting edge of computer technology. His mathematical brain made him a 
vital tool in the fight against terrorism and cyber warfare. Yet the 
security services are anxious to play down his role, so as not to alarm 
the world over his importance to anyone involved in his murder.

In 2000, Williams left his Cambridge University course in advanced 
mathematics because he had already learned all he could. By then, he had 
also been "tapped" -- recruited by GCHQ scouts, who tour universities 
looking for talent.

No one can be certain why he signed up. It wasn=E2=80=99t the salary. His 40,000 
UKP a year was far less than he could have earned in industry. But it is 
very likely that, like so many of his young colleagues at GCHQ, he was 
attracted by the challenges, the excitement of working at the centre of 
events that he would often know about before even the Prime Minister.


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