MI5 agents to wear wigs and makeup in US terror trial
British intelligence agents will be able to testify in court so long as they wear wigs and makeup to hide their identities at the impending trial of an alleged al-Qaeda agent a judge has ruled.
The six MI5 agents who undertook surveillance on Abid Naseer, 28, whom they believed was involved in a plot to bomb a shopping centre in Manchester in 2009, are to be called as witnesses at Mr Naseer’s trial in the US next month.
Federal prosecutors requested that US district judge Raymond Dearie approve the disguise request at a hearing in Brooklyn, New York City.
Prosecutors told the judge the agents continue to work on sensitive cases and that “disclosure of their identities would pose a significant risk to their safety”.
The operatives will use identification number instead of names and will wear wigs and makeup so that the jury and defendant’s ability to interpret their facial expressions and assess their credibility is not impaired.
Mr Naseer was extradited to the US he pleaded “not guilty” to charges relating to an al-Qaeda conspiracy that included an attack on Manchester and also one against New York City.
Two other witnesses expected to testify against Mr Naseer, Najibullah Zaziand Zarein Ahmedzay, pleaded guilty to being involved in a plot to detonate bombs on the subway.
Mr Naseer is to represent himself at the trial, with opening statements expected in the middle of next month.