By Zelda Venter

The Pretoria High Court has heard how America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) threatened Wouter Basson with death.

This came after his true identity - the fact that he was heading South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme - was exposed in US newspapers.

"The local CIA agent in Pretoria threatened me with death on the sidewalk of the American Embassy in Schoeman Street," Basson said.

He told the court the agent threatened to tell Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi that he (Basson) was a double agent.

Basson said he immediately got onto a plane to Libya to explain himself. There he was detained for 14 days and then released. He was later placed under a National Intelligence Agency protection plan.

Basson said the American and English intelligence services demanded to be briefed on Project Coast.

This he did, but he "never ever gave away" South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme's secrets.