French ex-spy detained over tell-all book

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French police on Wednesday questioned a former senior spy accused of revealing state secrets and the identities of fellow operatives in his recently-released memoir.

Defence Minister Herve Morin has filed a complaint against Pierre Siramy, whose real name is Maurice Dufresne, author of "25 years in the secret services" released in April.

Dufresne was detained on Tuesday after police searched his home in Saint-Lo, northwest France, and he remained in police custody overnight, a judicial official said.

A former deputy director at the DGSE agency for external security, he faces allegations that he revealed defence secrets, violated a confidentiality agreement and divulged the names of "protected" defence ministry personnel.

Dufresne caused a stir last month when he claimed that 24-year-old university researcher Clotilde Reiss who was put on trial in Iran for spying had in fact worked as "a contact" for French intelligence.

"She provided reports on the political climate and in the area of arms proliferation. She did it voluntarily," he said last month after Reiss returned home.

The allegations prompted an angry response from the French foreign ministry which branded them "pure fantasy."

© 2010 AFP

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