|Dead UK Spy Gareth Williams: UK Daily Mail|
(Story reported by Jon Clements for the UK Mirror)
EXCLUSIVE: Chiefs mourn loss of 'genius'
The full extent of murdered spy Gareth Williams' role in the world of espionage slowly began to emerge last night.
He was rated as one of the best codebreakers in the business - an elite agent who fought in secret to thwart al-Qaeda terror attacks at home and abroad.
And the 31-year-old maths genius's unique skills were also recognised by spy chiefs across the Atlantic.
Despite a dislike of flying, he regularly travelled from London to Baltimore to meet US National Security
Agency officials at their Fort Meade HQ - dubbed the Puzzle Palace.
He made the trip up to four times a year "on business" for the Government's GCHQ listening post.
Last night his uncle told how he would mysteriously disappear for up to three or four weeks at a time.
Speaking at his farmhouse at Anglesey, North Wales, Michael Hughes said: "The trips were very hush-hush.
They were so secret that I only recently found out about them - and we're a very close family. It had become part of his job in the past few years. His last trip out there was a few weeks ago, but he was regularly back and forth."
Mr Williams' mysterious death has shocked and dismayed officials at the NSA, which has an agreement with GCHQ to pool their signal intelligence - known as SigInt.
Fort Meade officials have been updated on the police investigation into how the keen cyclist, who was on attachment to MI6, was found dead in a sports holdall in his bathtub.
They are anxious to know if there has been any breach of global security as a result of the murder at Mr Williams' Government-owned flat in Pimlico, Central London.
Britain now relies heavily on the NSA to help monitor phone calls, emails, texts and other communications of UK terror suspects.
(Click here to read the full story on the UK Mirror website.)