Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MI6: The government is lying

Britain's secret intelligence service, MI6, has challenged the government's claim that a major corruption inquiry into Saudi Arabian arms deals was threatening national security.

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, told parliament before Christmas that the intelligence agencies "agreed with the assessment" of Tony Blair that national security was in jeopardy because the Saudis intended to pull out of intelligence cooperation with Britain. But John Scarlett, the head of MI6, has now refused to sign up to a government dossier which says MI6 endorses this view.

Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that the statement to the Lords was incorrect. MI6 and MI5 possessed no intelligence that the Saudis intended to sever security links. The intelligence agencies had been merely asked whether it would be damaging to UK national security if such a breach did happen. They replied that naturally it would.

The issue has now come to a head because ministers are under pressure at an international meeting today to justify why they terminated an important corruption investigation into the arms company BAE Systems.

Does Blair ever tell the truth? I am glad someone from the intelligence service is standing up and telling the country that they won’t be made a scapegoat like they were for Iraq.

Blair couldn’t really do much about the deal. The Saudis had us by the gonads and they would have won either way. I would have rather went with going with justice and prosecuting those that needed to be prosecuted but that would have meant losing a big deal.

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