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Thursday, 26 April 2007

Terrorism leak update

Iain Dale carries This terrific story on the leak - an excellent piece of ferreting. I've also had time to re-read DAC Peter Clark's speech carefully - it's HERE and worth reading in full. I must admit I hadn't quite realised the inter-connectedness between separate investigations; as DAC Clark says;
But if the public are sceptical about intelligence, what other sources of information do they have? There are more than 100 people awaiting trial in terrorism cases in the UK. That should, one would think, be the source of a wealth of information, cleansed through the integrity of the criminal justice system, publicly tested through the process of cross-examination, and validated or otherwise by the verdict of the jury. Well, so far terrorist trials have not been as informative as we might wish, for a number of reasons. First, it is taking anything up to two years, and in some cases more, for cases to reach the courts. During that time little can be said about what the investigation has uncovered. Then there is the issue of evidence that emerges in one case potentially prejudicing jurors in another. Because of the fact that terrorist cells and networks are inevitably linked, this has meant that over the past five years I can hardly remember a time when there were not Court Orders in place restricting what could be published about terrorist cases. It was three years before we could tell the public what we found in the Finsbury Park Mosque. For well over a year the public did not know that Kamel Bourgass had been convicted of murdering DC Stephen Oake. And there are other examples - but as if to illustrate my point, I can't tell you about them.
He comes across as a careful, thoughtful copper who is happiest working away from the public gaze. The very real anger he is feeling over the Birmingham leaks comes across powerfully in his speech;
What I am talking about is the deliberate leaking of highly sensitive operational intelligence, often classified, and the unauthorised release of which can be a criminal offence. I make no allegations about the source of leaks or about individual cases. What is clear is that there are a number, a small number I am sure, of misguided individuals who betray confidences. Perhaps they look to curry favour with certain journalists, or to squeeze out some short term presentational advantage - I do not know what motivates them. The people who do this either do not know or do not care what damage they do. If they do know, then they are beneath contempt. If they do not know, then let me tell them. They compromise investigations. They reveal sources of life saving intelligence. In the worst cases they put lives at risk. I wonder if they simply do not care.
I am more convinced than ever that the leaker(s) in this particular case must be caught and brought to trial.

However, I am not at all confident that the journalists who received the illegal leaks will co-operate. There also seems to be an agreement to play down the story on the BBC and in the press. It's at times like these that those such as Iain and Guido are worth a price above rubies.

1 comment:

Electro Kevin said...

When they secure our borders properly THEN I'll take them seriously - I expect the cops are loving this new found purpose - and what a front for encroaching on our liberties.