In Depth

Harry Dunn: is US giving ‘CIA spy’ Anne Sacoolas special protection?

Washington source claims the fugitive American was ‘more senior’ in intelligence community than her diplomatic husband

Reports that the woman accused of killing British teenager Harry Dunn is a former senior CIA agent has fuelled theories that the US has offered her special protection.

According to The Mail on Sunday, British ministers are also aware of Anne Sacoolas’s “career in espionage”, although she was not registered as an employee of the spy service when she moved to Britain with her diplomat husband. 

The US is refusing to extradite Sacoolas, who fled the UK after crashing into the 19-year-old’s motorbike in Northamptonshire last August.

Following the espionage reports, Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said that “things are now beginning to fall into place”.

What do we know about Sacoolas?

A US government source told The Mail on Sunday that the fugitive mother-of-three was “more senior than her husband” in the country’s intelligence community.

Multiple sources say that she was “not active” in the UK, but one added: “You never really leave the CIA.”

The US State Department declined to comment on the claims, telling the newspaper: “The driver was the spouse of an accredited diplomat to the United Kingdom.”

But “the disclosure that the wanted woman was in the CIA will fuel suspicions that the US is giving her special protection and further strain relations between the nations”, says The Times.

Dunn’s family has also condemned Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab for concealing Sacoolas’s CIA background from them, The Guardian reports.

They claim that when they asked him about her role in the UK, the minister confirmed that she had been an employee of the US State Department, but did not mention that she was an ex-CIA officer.

Dunn’s mother said: “How could [the British government] do this to us? We have thrown ourselves into building relationships with the Government despite the terrible way they were treating us. We believe in giving people a second chance. But I am livid today and my family are full of anger.”

In comments to the Mail, she added: “Whether or not you are a CIA officer, a diplomat or anyone else, the Vienna Convention states that you must abide by and respect the rules and regulations of the host country.”

Sacoolas has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving over the fatal crash last year, when she allegedly collided head-on with Dunn while driving on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton base. The teenager suffered multiple injuries and later died in hospital.

Claiming diplomatic immunity, Sacoolas then fled the UK for the US. The US government claims the family notified the Foreign Office that they were leaving, the Mail reports.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

What next?

The UK and US governments insist that, at the time of the accident, Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity as her husband was working as a technical officer at the Northamptonshire air base.

However, The Guardian reports that Raab was said to be “incandescent with rage” after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month rejected a request to extradite Sacoolas. 

The Crown Prosecution Service had announced in December that it was charging Sacoolas over Harry’s death. But her lawyers said she would not return to the UK voluntarily, and insisted that the 14-year prison term she could face was “not proportionate” for what was “a terrible but unintentional accident”.

Last week, the Daily Mail tracked down Sacoolas to Virginia, where she was pictured driving her children to school.

Dunn’s parents are now calling for a public inquiry into the killing, Sky News reports. Their spokesperson, lawyer Radd Seiger, said it was “high time that the nation can see with full transparency whether or not the Government prioritised protecting the identity of the Sacoolas family over the welfare and rights of Harry’s family”.

Recommended

Will the 1922 Committee oust Boris Johnson?
Tory MP Graham Brady
In Depth

Will the 1922 Committee oust Boris Johnson?

Will there be a snap general election – and who would win?
A sign directs voters to a polling station
In Depth

Will there be a snap general election – and who would win?

How to avoid the airport chaos this summer
Travellers wait in a long queue
In Depth

How to avoid the airport chaos this summer

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?
Ambulance workers at hospital
Why we’re talking about . . .

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

What happened to Logan Mwangi?
Tributes left to Logan Mwangi
Today’s big question

What happened to Logan Mwangi?

The Week Footer Banner