NBC News — A former U.K. government official says a fake rock in Moscow helped Britain spy on Russia. This is the first time anyone in the U.K. has publicly accepted the allegations made by Russia in 2006. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair's Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell told a BBC documentary the incident was quote "embarrassing" and said Russia had "clearly known about it for some time." Russian TV first aired the story in a report showing how the rock contained electronic equipment.
Russia's security service linked the rock to allegations British security services were making secret payments to human rights and pro-democracy groups. Then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin later introduced a law prohibiting non-governmental organizations from receiving funds from foreign governments. The documentary series "Putin, Russia and the West" airs on the BBC on thursdays starting January 19th.