Former Chief of Defence Intelligence supports
In the Daily Mail, Tuesday, the 27th July 2004 an article by
Air Marshall Sir John Walker supported the action of Mr Morrison who was a
former senior colleague on the defence Intelligence and Security Committee.
‘If a Government of a great democracy such as ours fails
to tell the truth, it must expect loyal public servants to break ranks and
reveal what’s really going on’
‘Those of us who have worked in the
intelligence services usually maintain a discreet silence whenever our
specialist subject is under discussion.
We are, quite rightly, bound by the
Official Secrets Act, as well as by our personal sense of duty and discretion.
But every so often an issue arises so
that should be debated publicly. The
case of John Morrison is I believe, such an issue.
Mr Morrison, who was a senior colleague
of mine on the Defence Intelligence staff (and was later its well-regarded
deputy chief) has been effectively sacked from his present job as a consultant
with Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
His crime was that he had dared to reveal
in a recent interview for BBC’s Panorama, the depth of scepticism in
intelligence circles about the Prime Minister Tony Blair’s claim in the
September 2002 dossier that Iraq posed a ‘serious and current threat’ to this
Provocatively perhaps, he talked of the
‘collective raspberry going up around Whitehall’ when the dossier was
published, and accused the Government of ‘scrapping the bottom of the barrel’
in an attempt to justify the war.
While his choice of words was
questionable, the thought behind them was quite probably right. And within a week of the broadcast, Mr
Morrison was out of a job.
Announcing that his contract would end in
October, the Cabinet Office spinners dismissively said that he was ‘currently employed as a
contractor… a part-time investigator.’
It made him seem like the man whose job
it was to fix the lights.
It was yet another hatchet job on a respected
figure; a highly experienced man, whom I had known well and counted as a
trusted colleague- a man whose professionalism, honour and integrity I had
come to admire.
Just as I admired the work and character of Dr Brian Jones, another distinguished Iraq expert, now retired, who had
worked closely with me at Defence Intelligence and who had also spoken out on
I admired their willingness to raise
vital questions about the reasons given for Britain going to war in Iraq. Questions, which I, and many others,
thought, should have been raised long since.
To have seen their reputations tarnished
by the Whitehall spin machine in such a way is disgraceful. And let us not forget Dr David
Kelly – a brilliant scientist and defence analyst who knew Iraq well.