Johnson Home secretary
MISSING: Madeleine McCann
HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is prepared
to ask US spy chiefs for satellite images which may show the face of
Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper, following intervention by the Sunday
Hope of new progress came after it
emerged Leicestershire Police never made a formal request to the Home
Office for views of Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve at the time the
little girl vanished in May 2007.
The quality of pictures taken by satellites in space is now so good they
can reputedly identify the colour of someone’s eyes.
Last night a senior source with the Portuguese police said: “We know US
spy satellites regularly sweep over Portugal looking at military
installations and government facilities.
“So we thought they might actually have images of Praia da Luz on the
day of the kidnapping and the preceding days.
“We hoped spy images may have captured the kidnapper watching the
apartment prior to the event or even on the day itself. Obviously,
having a picture would have speeded up the apprehension of the
Yet more than
two years after Madeleine was snatched no help has been forthcoming,
despite early requests from senior Portuguese detectives.
Google Earth view from where Madeleine
The Portuguese source explained: “This was fully discussed with
Leicestershire Police and officials with the British Government.
“We were confident of getting progress because of Gordon Brown’s
interest in the case and this apparent special relationship between
Britain and the United States.
“Your ambassador to Portugal even visited our officers soon after the
“The bad news for us is that we got nowhere with this avenue of inquiry,
which was both frustrating and infuriating.”
For, despite all the talk, nothing appears to have been done officially
with the British government and the formal requests were never made.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Johnson said extensive checks within the
security intelligence community had failed to discover any formal
request ever having come to them through Leicestershire Police from
However, he said that if a request were now made Mr Johnson would see
whether he could offer any assistance in trying to persuade the
Americans to become co-operative.
The issue appears so sensitive that Prime Minister Mr Brown may have to
speak directly to US President Barack Obama in order to achieve
The Sunday Express sought explanations for the extraordinary situation
from the US government’s ultra- secretive National
The agency’s lawyers are now considering a Freedom of Information
request from the Sunday Express.
A spokesman for the agency said: “NGA does not provide imagery to
private citizens or private companies. For reasons of national security
we do not discuss specifics about what images we have or our
Private investigators working for parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who
live in Rothley, Leicestershire, have also tried to access US satellite
images, but with no success.