Whistleblower John Morrison –Former Deputy Chief of
‘Sacked – the
chief who dared to criticize
Blair over war claims’
In the Daily Mail on Monday, 26th
July.2004-Political Correspondent Graeme Wilson’s article shown below of the
sacking of yet another whistleblower who had the courage to speak out when
others remained silent must support the view that we do live under a
Downing Street was under fire last night after a senior
intelligence official was sacked for daring to criticise Tony Blair over the
war in Iraq.
John Morrison- the former deputy chief of
intelligence at the Ministry of Defence-spoke out in a BBC Panorama documentary
about the Intelligence, which led Britain to arms.
A week later he was axed from his job with Parliament’s
Intelligence and Security Committee.
In his Panorama interview he revealed the intelligence community’s deep
scepticism about Mr Blair’s claims over Iraq weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Morrison said the intelligence services were stunned
when Mr Blair warned of Saddam Hussein’s’ serious and current threat’ to
Britain in his foreword to the Downing Street dossier of September 2002.
I heard him using those words I could almost hear the collective raspberry
going up around Whitehall,’ he said.
Despite the BBC appearance apparently being cleared by ISC chairman Ann
Taylor, Mr Morrison’s comments- just days before Lord Butler’s damaging report-
infuriated David Omand, Tony Blair’s intelligence and security co-ordinator
and permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office.
He [David Omand] is understood to have held immediate talks with Mrs Taylor a former Labour
Within days, Mr Morrison’s five years of service were
brought to a swift conclusion in a letter from the committee.
The sacking angered Labour MP’s opposed to
Veteran backbencher Alan Simpson said: ‘The only people who have
paid the price for this mistaken war are those who have said what the country
believes and knows to be true.’
‘But no amount of sackings- whether it’s
gan, Greg Dyke or John Morrison- can hide the
Liberal Democrat spokesman Menzies Campbell said:
‘It must be a matter of great regret that Mr
Morrison should lose his job for speaking out and informing the public.
‘Scrutiny of the intelligence services should
become the responsibility of a Select Committee in the House of Commons,
instead of the present arrangements which make the intelligence and security
committee too dependent on the Prime Minister’
The ISC was set up in 1994 to provide Parliamentary
oversight of the Intelligence Services. Its work is among the most secretive in Whitehall
and is overseen by the Cabinet Office.
As the committee’s investigator, Mr Morrison’s role
involved pursuing ‘specific matters in greater detail’.
Veteran BBC reporter John Ware, who made the Panorama
‘I’m frankly astonished by this news. John
Morrison was scrupulous in his approach to this interview.
‘He insisted that we should make no reference
to his work for the ISC precisely because he wanted to make clear that he was
giving a personal opinion. At no stage did he breach the Official Secrets Act.’
During his appearance, Mr Morrison also revealed how
intelligence officers were put under pressure to lie about the effectiveness of
earlier military strikes against Iraq- the British and American bombing raids
during Operation Desert Fox in 1998.
‘We were pressured to say something had been
effective when in the long run we decided that it hadn’t been particularly
effective,’ he told the programme.
‘That had never happened in my career before
and I didn’t like it very much.’
The Cabinet Office refused to comment on Mr
Morrison’s departure yesterday and instead issued a brief statement.
‘John Morrison is currently employed as a
contractor by the Cabinet Office on behalf of the ISC as apart time
‘Mr Morrison has worked for the committee for
over five years and his contract will end in October 2004.
‘The Committee- whilst continuing their
current work-have no plans to employ a new investigator.’
Mr Morrison said he could not speck to the media.
‘I have no comment to make. My contract
prevents me from talking to you, he said
He is the only person in Whitehall to lose
his job in the wake of the Butler report.
In contrast, Joint Intelligence Committee
chairman, John Scarlett, who was criticised in the report for being influenced
by his political masters, has been promoted to head MI6.
The treatment of Mr Morrison will inevitably revive
memories of how the Government machine dealt with Dr David Kelly in the weeks
before his suicide.
Both men were acknowledged experts in their fields
who had served their country with dignity for many years. And both felt
compelled to speak out in protest at the way Downing Street moulded
intelligence to fit the case for war.
Mr Morrison first joined the defence intelligence
staff in 1967 and played a key role in the search for Saddam’s weapons of mass
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(In memory of Dr David Kelly
and those brave soldiers who have given their lives)
‘Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honour far more precious dear than life’
honour is my life; both grow in one; take honour from me and my life is done’
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