Roger Whittaker

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Thursday 26th April 2007

From today's Independent, reporting on Peter Clarke's speech and yesterday's controversy:

Tony Blair is resisting demands for a full inquiry into accusations that lives have been put at risk by leaks from Whitehall about police anti-terrorism operations.


Mr Clarke, the country's most senior anti-terrorist police chief, suggested that those responsible were trying to "squeeze out some short-term presentational advantage" by giving secret information.

He cited the secret briefing to journalists over an alleged plot in Birmingham to kidnap and behead a Muslim serviceman in the British Army. He said the leak had hampered the investigation, disrupted the interviews of suspects and raised community tensions. Although he did not name the culprits, his comments were interpreted by opposition parties as an attack on Whitehall "spin doctors" working for cabinet ministers.


Referring to the "Birmingham beheading plot", in an article by Nigel Morris (also in today's Independent):

A week after the raids, Kenneth Clarke, the former home secretary, was more explicit. He said "reputable sources" had indicated that it was not "junior policemen", but the "political end of the Home Office" that was the source of the briefing.

The "political end of the Home Office" is currently a man called John Reid.

It's quite clear that some senior policemen have got fed up with terror plots, alleged terror plots and "terror plots" being used for political purposes by the government and intelligence services.

See also today's Guardian story:

The Guardian has been told that an aide to John Reid, the home secretary, was responsible for one of those leaks [...]

Journalists on at least one tabloid paper were tipped off the night before the raids, with the result that some travelled there before anyone had been arrested.

Craig Murray discusses the story here:

A reminder of a few other cases of this phenomenon: