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 recognized by spy chiefs across the Atlantic.
Despite a dislike of flying, he regularly traveled 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."