Irish tabloid the “Sunday World” has been accused of invading the privacy of Carrie Twomey, the wife of one of the lead researchers on the Boston College Belfast oral histories.
Twomey has reported her concerns to the Irish police.
Last week, the Northern Irish edition of the paper published a report that Twomey, who is married to researcher and former IRA volunteer Anthony McIntyre, was seeking U.S. asylum for herself and her husband.
It claimed that Twomey, an American citizen, had approached authorities “to plead McIntyre’s case, stating that granting him refuge would ultimately save his life.”
Twomey has denied that she is seeking asylum for her family.
She and McIntyre, who live in Co. Louth, say they have been harassed following the arrest and questioning of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Information relating to the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, obtained by PSNI from the subpoenaed Boston College tapes, was the key impetus for his arrest.
Twomey and Ed Moloney, the other lead of the Boston College project, have accused the “Sunday World” of using information illegally intercepted from her calls and email exchanges with the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.
In an interview with “The Guardian” newspaper on Tuesday, Moloney called upon the tabloid’s management to “give a clear and unequivocal assurance that their journalists have gathered material only by honest, straightforward and open means, and that their intrusions into Carrie Twomey's private life have not been the result of illegal activity."
Twomey told “The Guardian” that she is positive her recent communications have been subject to “illegal privacy violations” and that the contents of her conversation with the US Embassy had been leaked to the Sunday World.
She also said that she is uncertain as to the identity of the party committing the privacy breach.
"I haven't a clue who precisely is carrying out the surveillance – it might be the NSA in the States, GCHQ in Britain or even the Provisional IRA's spying department. But whoever is doing it – this is an offense in Irish law and I want the garda [Irish police] to take it seriously."