Whitehall "spies" may be lurking ready to leak the secrets of Scotland's Civil Service, a retired senior official has claimed.
James Aitken said that he believed Scotland could be caught off-guard by "sleepers" within their own ranks in the event of a Yes vote in the independence referendum.
Scotland would be at a "considerable disadvantage" with little experience in international treaties, while Westminster could also expect help from US intelligence agencies, which wish to keep tabs on Scotland's nuclear missile cache.
Mr Aitken said "it was a fair bet" that any paper produced would be circulating Whitehall within 24 hours.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said the claims were "fanciful, to say the least."