Transcripts

Return to the list of transcripts

Full Hearings

Hearing: 10th February 2009, day 104

Click here to download the LiveNote version

 

 

 

 

 

 


----------------------

 

 

ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

----------------------

 

held at:
The Interpoint Centre
20-24 York Street
Belfast BT15 1AQ


on Tuesday, 10 February 2009
commencing at 9.00 am


Day 104

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Tuesday, 10 February 2009

2 (9.00 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (9.07 am)

5 (Closed hearing)

6 S224 (sworn)

7 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

8 (10.07 am)

9 (Short break)

10 (10.30 am)

11 (Open hearing)

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

13 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

16 screen closed?

17 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

19 and securely fastened?

20 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

22 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

23 of this chamber?

24 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Can the video engineer please confirm that

 

 

2

 

1 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

2 shrouded?

3 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

5 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

7 Bring the witness in, please. Please sit down.

8 The witness has been sworn. The cameras on the

9 panel, Inquiry personnel and the Full Participants'

10 legal representatives may now be switched back on.

11 MR PHILLIPS: Can you just identify for everybody, please,

12 your witness statement to the Inquiry. It is at

13 RNI-844-134 on the screen (displayed), and do we see

14 your ciphered signature at RNI-844-140 and the date of

15 18 January last year?

16 A. That's correct.

17 Q. You have been granted anonymity and I hope very much you

18 have been provided with a sheet of other names and

19 ciphers, have you?

20 A. I have indeed.

21 Q. I would be grateful if you would consult it during your

22 evidence so that the anonymity of those other witnesses

23 may also be preserved. Starting if I may, at the

24 beginning of your statement, you tell us there that you

25 were, between June 1999 and October 2004, the Assistant

 

 

3

 

1 Director in charge of the Irish Counter Terrorism

2 Agent-Running Section of the Security Service and that

3 you reported to Director T. Is that correct?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. From the evidence that the Inquiry has heard, including

6 in particular the DCI 2 statement at RNI-844-006, that

7 section was known at T8; is that correct?

8 A. That's correct, yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Can you help, please, by telling us what the

10 focus of the work of T8 in Northern Ireland was during

11 this period?

12 A. During which period in particular?

13 Q. The period during which you were Assistant Director.

14 A. Right. Our work was essentially in Northern Ireland to

15 gather secret intelligence from human sources that would

16 provide strategic information to help the Government,

17 but also to support the work of counter terrorism being

18 undertaken by the RUC, by police agencies on the

19 mainland, by our own investigative sections on the

20 mainland and by, in some cases, overseas liaison

21 services, and also to disrupt, where we could, terrorist

22 activity that was emanating from Northern Ireland.

23 Q. Thank you. Can you again help me with this: what in

24 summary were your responsibilities as the Head of T8?

25 A. To manage the section in terms of its personnel, its

 

 

4

 

1 resources, to give it direction, to give it leadership

2 and to seek to ensure that everyone was properly tasked

3 and trained and equipped to do their jobs effectively.

4 Q. Thank you. Can I move on to the question of

5 Rosemary Nelson herself.

6 You touch on this in paragraph 4 of your statement,

7 RNI-844-is 35 (displayed), and you say that before her

8 murder you assume you had probably seen her on TV but,

9 if so, she had not impinged significantly on your

10 consciousness. Can you remember, as a matter of

11 interest, in what context you think it is likely you

12 would have heard about her or seen her on TV?

13 A. I might conceivably have seen her in the context of some

14 court case, but I'm speculating. I do not have a clear

15 recollection of being aware of her before her murder and

16 I might, therefore, be transposing back some subsequent

17 television clip and thinking that it was something that

18 I had seen before when actually it was something I saw

19 afterwards.

20 Q. And that's the point, isn't it, you make just later in

21 this same paragraph, the difficulty in distinguishing

22 what you knew when?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Just to be clear about one aspect of this, do you

25 recollect seeing any intelligence report to you about

 

 

5

 

1 Rosemary Nelson before her murder?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the situation after her

4 murder is concerned, you say there once she had been

5 murdered, of course, her prominence in your mind would

6 have risen. Can I ask you this general question about

7 the impact of her murder: was the murder and the

8 ramifications of the murder a significant issue for your

9 section?

10 A. Well, at the time of her murder I wasn't the head of T8.

11 Q. Indeed.

12 A. I was the head of another section, and as the head of

13 that section, the answer was no.

14 Q. And when you came to be Head of T8, was the murder at

15 that point -- so from June 1999 onwards -- an issue of

16 significance for you?

17 A. No.

18 Q. No. As far as you are concerned, did the murder and the

19 ramifications of the murder, its potential impact, ever

20 take on strategic importance?

21 A. No.

22 Q. No. Now, can I ask you to look at the first of the

23 documents I want to show you this morning, and this is

24 at RNI-531-128 (displayed)?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

6

 

1 Q. So this is before you go to T8. It is addressed to you,

2 amongst others. Obviously there have been substantial

3 redactions in the version you see on the screen. It's

4 dated the day of the murder, 15 March 1999.

5 First, can I ask you, please, to help with this

6 aspect of this document. You tell us in your statement

7 that the other section you were working in at this

8 point, as you put it:

9 "In some investigations this subsection was in

10 a position to provide information on the identity of the

11 most likely organisation which had made bombs and

12 possibly even point to the individual responsible if the

13 bomb construction signature was identifiable."

14 Can I take it that that is why you were one of the

15 recipients of this loose minute?

16 A. Well, I was the head of the section.

17 Q. Indeed.

18 A. And the section, you should understand, had three

19 primary functions. One was the investigation of

20 Irish-related terrorism overseas, activities of Irish

21 terrorists of all kinds overseas. Secondly, we had an

22 agent resettlement function. And thirdly, we had

23 a weapons intelligence function, and the weapons

24 intelligence function was not confined to Irish

25 terrorism, it also included international terrorism.

 

 

7

 

1 So we had a very detailed important database through

2 which occasionally we could identify signature

3 techniques, signature trademarks, sometimes which could

4 actually be -- could identify a particular individual:

5 That particular bomb, or the fragments, the remains of

6 that bomb, whether it be a Middle Eastern terrorist bomb

7 or whatever, that bears the hallmark of so and so.

8 That's his style, that's the way he does things. And

9 that, of course, was extremely valuable to those who

10 were seeking to investigate terrorism across a wide

11 range of terrorist activity.

12 Q. And can you help with this: as far as you can recall,

13 were you able to give that sort of assistance in

14 relation to this device, the Rosemary Nelson --

15 A. I don't recall that we were. I mean, the RUC passed us

16 information, this particular information, we processed

17 it, we then passed is on to Assessments Group but I

18 don't recall in this particular case -- I cannot recall

19 in detail -- we may have been able to add some value to

20 it. I don't recall that we made any dramatic

21 contribution.

22 Q. Now, can I just ask you to look at the first paragraph

23 of the loose minute and the last sentence:

24 "Nelson is reported by intelligence to have been the

25 girlfriend of Colin Duffy, a prominent member of Lurgan

 

 

8

 

1 PIRA."

2 Was that something you were aware of in relation to

3 Rosemary Nelson, do you think, at the time you read this

4 on the day of her murder?

5 A. As I have said earlier on, I didn't really know about

6 Rosemary Nelson, so it didn't ring any bells with me

7 at all.

8 Q. So it would have been news to you?

9 A. It would have been news to me.

10 Q. It was not something you had heard as at that point?

11 A. I don't recall having heard it. I certainly -- became

12 a topic of conversation afterwards. I remember being

13 surprised.

14 Q. When you first heard?

15 A. When I first heard, yes.

16 Q. And the topic of conversation, what, with colleagues?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. After the murder?

19 A. After the murder.

20 Q. Can you remember the context of these conversations?

21 A. No, it was just people mentioning, "Have you heard that

22 she was the girlfriend of Colin Duffy?" and being

23 surprised.

24 Q. Why surprised?

25 A. Well, she was a solicitor.

 

 

9

 

1 Q. Whereas?

2 A. Whereas I had read that he was her client. And I was

3 surprised, perhaps naively.

4 Q. Was any significance attributed in these conversations

5 to this information?

6 A. No.

7 Q. No. It was, as it were, tittle-tattle?

8 A. It was simply people making observations to me and my

9 expressing surprise.

10 Q. Now, turning to the question of the device, do you see

11 in the second paragraph here it says in the fifth line:

12 "There is nothing as yet to indicate whether it was

13 a Loyalist or Republican attack."

14 Now, I would like to move on in the documents,

15 please, to RNI-532-005 (displayed). Here, only the next

16 day, another loose minute, again copied to you, heading

17 "Murder of Rosemary Nelson, the composition of device".

18 Then there is a caveat which we will come back to, and

19 various details are provided, some of which, I think, as

20 matters turned out, may not have been entirely accurate.

21 But it looks at the time of this minute as though

22 the openness that we saw in the first minute -- no

23 indication whether it is Loyalist or Republican -- had

24 come down towards there being a Loyalist origin of the

25 attack. Do you see that under the heading "Comment"?

 

 

10

 

1 Is that correct?

2 A. I'm just reading. (Pause)

3 Yes. I see it.

4 Q. Thereafter, that having been set out, various

5 suggestions are being made as to its possible origin and

6 the suggestion, do you see in the very first sentence,

7 is that this was a relatively sophisticated device. Can

8 I take it by that that the point here was that compared

9 to previous devices used in Loyalist attacks, this was

10 a relatively sophisticated weapon?

11 A. That question really needs to be answered by the expert

12 who wrote this.

13 Q. Yes. But that's what the minute seems to suggest, does

14 it not?

15 A. It seems to be saying that. It is a reasonable

16 interpretation.

17 Q. Thank you. And you see at the bottom in relation to the

18 Red Hand Defenders in particular, it suggests that this

19 device represents, as it were, a step up in their

20 capability?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the caveat is concerned, at

23 the top of the page:

24 "Because of the political sensitivity of the

25 attribution of the Nelson murder ..."

 

 

11

 

1 Then there is a redacted passage:

2 "... must be consulted before any of the details

3 quoted below are used externally."

4 So can one take it that it was, as it were, in the

5 immediate aftermath of the murder, obvious that it was

6 a politically sensitive issue?

7 A. I don't know. I mean, I would -- it is possible that

8 this information -- well, information -- more

9 information has clearly been passed by the RUC to what

10 was then my section experts.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. As they did so, they may well have said to my experts,

13 "Oh, this has become politically sensitive," hence the

14 caveat. At this remove of time, I cannot say which

15 it is.

16 Q. It is not something you can recall on your own?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Can we now turn to the question of your involvement in

19 various aspects of the murder investigation or in issues

20 relating to the murder investigation? First of all, am

21 I right in thinking that you had no direct involvement

22 with the murder investigation at any point?

23 A. I had no direct involvement.

24 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as your time at T8 is

25 concerned -- so we are starting in June 1999 -- as far

 

 

12

 

1 as you are aware, did any of your agents produce

2 tactical intelligence relating to the murder?

3 A. As far as I'm aware, no.

4 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to move on, if I may, to

5 some way through the investigation and to look with you

6 at a note of a conversation, which we find together at

7 RNI-532-143 (displayed). It is dated 4 April. You are

8 the author. The heading, although it has been partially

9 redacted, is "RUC Liaison Response to ..." then there is

10 a redacted part "... Intelligence".

11 Now, this is a note, I think, is it not, of

12 a conversation between you and the then Deputy Head of

13 Special Branch?

14 A. That is correct.

15 Q. Thank you. It is a reasonably heavily redacted

16 document, but it looks as though at the heart of it, in

17 the first paragraph we see, is recent intelligence -- do

18 you see that? -- on the Orange Volunteers?

19 A. Hm-mm.

20 Q. Do you see that?

21 A. Yes, I do.

22 Q. Yes. If we turn back in the bundle or on the screen to

23 RNI-532-141 (displayed), there dated 30 March, again

24 redacted, but you see the initials "OV" in paragraph 1?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

13

 

1 Q. Is this the intelligence which is under discussion in

2 your conversation with the Deputy Head of

3 Special Branch?

4 A. It is a good candidate for it, but I cannot at this

5 remove be certain that this is the particular piece of

6 intelligence that was being discussed.

7 Q. But is it fair to say that when one looks at the nature

8 of the discussion, the type of intelligence you were

9 discussing, there is a match?

10 A. It might well be, but I cannot be certain.

11 Q. No. And the report that we have on the screen at the

12 moment, although heavily redacted, relates to targeting

13 by the Orange Volunteers being aided by information

14 provided by members of the security forces. Is that

15 correct?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, in terms of the type of intelligence,

18 would you regard this as strategic or tactical?

19 A. I regard this as tactical.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, in your statement at paragraph 9 on

21 RNI-844-136 (displayed), you tell us about what the

22 procedure was for dealing with matters of this kind.

23 First of all, you say in the fifth line:

24 "The Service's role was to seek strategic

25 intelligence."

 

 

14

 

1 Is that correct?

2 A. In Northern Ireland.

3 Q. Yes. And when dealing with tactical intelligence, what,

4 please, was the process for dealing with that?

5 A. On those occasions when tactical intelligence was gained

6 by sources in Northern Ireland, operating in

7 Northern Ireland, it would be passed to the RUC for

8 investigation and appropriate action.

9 Q. But in relation to the tasking of agents, were agents

10 during this period tasked to seek tactical intelligence?

11 A. No, they were not.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, going back to the note of the

13 conversation with the Deputy Head of Special Branch,

14 RNI-532-143 (displayed), can you please assist us, doing

15 what you can with the documents and your memory, as to

16 the context of the conversation that took place between

17 you that evening?

18 A. Well, I had clearly been contacted by my deputy in

19 Northern Ireland, who had spoken to me about a meeting

20 which had taken place, a discussion which had taken

21 place earlier in the day.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. So I had wanted to touch base with the Deputy Head of

24 Special Branch to reassure myself as to what exactly was

25 going on, what the issues were and so on.

 

 

15

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. Directly.

3 Q. Now, it looks from paragraph 2 as though the relevant

4 intelligence had, in the view of the Deputy Head, been

5 issued in a bald fashion. Can you help us with what

6 that referred to, what you were getting at there in your

7 note?

8 A. I simply recorded what he said. I'm not sure that

9 I actually followed -- I didn't -- you have to remember

10 I did not have the intelligence in front of me at the

11 time that was being referred to, if you see what I mean.

12 Q. Why do you say that?

13 A. Well, if I had had, I would probably have made a note of

14 what it was rather than talking about it in a general

15 way. Even though this was a secure telephone

16 conversation, if I had actually had the intelligence

17 report in front of me, I would have probably quoted it.

18 Q. Right. Just running through it, you record that in

19 response to it:

20 "Our later input notwithstanding, as he had told

21 ..."

22 Then there is a redaction:

23 "... the RUC had no alternative but to take

24 immediate action to warn the alleged targets."

25 So it looks as though the intelligence was about

 

 

16

 

1 targeting of individuals?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And a view had been taken that the police had no

4 alternative but to warn them. Do you remember

5 a discussion taking place at any stage as to whether

6 there might be other options?

7 A. I don't. I myself in those particular circumstances

8 would have thought it inevitable and right that the

9 targets would be warned. There had been in the past,

10 I know -- I'm aware of circumstances where it has been

11 possible -- it was possible, where it could be

12 guaranteed that a particular person who was going to

13 attempt to mount an attack could be prevented from so

14 doing by having him arrested and taken out of

15 circulation for some period of time.

16 Q. As an alternative to warning?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. But that wasn't the case here.

20 Q. No. But it looks as though in the discussion a key

21 factor was the position of the RUC after the

22 Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson murders. Do you see

23 that in the fourth line?

24 A. Yes, I do indeed.

25 Q. What was the issue there?

 

 

17

 

1 A. Well, that they were concerned that there could be no --

2 there should be no colour of accusations of collusion.

3 I assume that is what he was getting at. Although, of

4 course, the murder of Pat Finucane had been ten years

5 before.

6 Q. Indeed. So far as the next passage of this paragraph is

7 concerned, there was obviously an agreement as to how

8 similar situations should be handled in future cases; is

9 that correct?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And as I understand it, the plan, the agreement was that

12 there would be a senior management discussion before

13 reports were issued?

14 A. That would almost have meant with my deputy in

15 Northern Ireland, not with me.

16 Q. No. But between, as it were, the Security Service side

17 and the RUC Special Branch?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Yes. Now, in taking decisions about releasing

20 information, how it should be released, was one of the

21 factors in play the question of source protection?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, presumably that had an impact on the way in which

24 intelligence was passed on?

25 A. It would have had an impact on the way intelligence was

 

 

18

 

1 passed on. It would not have had an impact on the

2 importance of passing on the intelligence.

3 Q. That's the key question, isn't it? Were there ever

4 cases in your experience where that balance between

5 warning potential targets on the one hand and the

6 protection of your assets -- sources, agents -- on the

7 other came down in favour of asset protection?

8 A. Not while I was in charge.

9 Q. No. Now, at 3, are we there looking at the first of

10 these points; in other words, the way in which

11 intelligence was phrased, couched, termed at the point

12 of its dissemination? Was that the issue?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. And the concern here on the part of

15 Special Branch, as I understand it -- please help if

16 this is correct -- is relating to the difficulties they

17 might encounter with uniformed branch handling and

18 otherwise dealing with the intelligence warning

19 disseminated to them?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Thank you. Now, can I just take you back to the second

22 paragraph and the second line of it, and see if you can

23 help with one phrase. I read part of this before, but

24 do you see the sentence beginning:

25 "In response to it ..."

 

 

19

 

1 That's the intelligence:

2 "... our later input notwithstanding ..."

3 Then it reads on eventually to:

4 "... the RUC had no alternative."

5 Can you help us with what the later input might have

6 been?

7 A. He is clearly referring to something that had been said

8 to him by my station in Northern Ireland and I'm not

9 even sure that he told me what it was.

10 Q. Yes. But there was obviously some sort of involvement

11 or intervention, if not by you --

12 A. It wasn't by me.

13 Q. -- then by the Security Service in some form?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. At an earlier stage?

16 A. Yes, it was not by me.

17 Q. Did you get the impression that that input came on the

18 side of being careful about disseminating this

19 intelligence?

20 A. I would be speculating.

21 Q. You don't know?

22 A. I don't know.

23 Q. It looks as though at the time you did know:

24 "Our later input notwithstanding ..."

25 Because you are, as it were, taking that into

 

 

20

 

1 account --

2 A. Yes, but I'm quoting him.

3 Q. Right. That's what you think you have recorded there?

4 A. Yes, because if you read it on, he is saying:

5 "He said straight off he had been very surprised.

6 And in response to it, our later input notwithstanding,

7 as he had told ..." so and so.

8 It is him talking. So he is referring to some

9 input. It is not me, it is him speaking.

10 Q. Right. Now, so far as the references to Pat Finucane

11 and Rosemary Nelson are concerned, we have talked about

12 them already and you have given an answer in relation to

13 why they came to be referred to in this context. Were

14 you aware at this point, or at any point, of

15 a suggestion that the RUC had failed to warn

16 Rosemary Nelson of any threat against her?

17 A. I was not aware of that at this time.

18 Q. And were you aware of it at any subsequent time?

19 A. I recall vaguely hearing accusations to that effect, but

20 I cannot determine in my mind when and where and in what

21 context.

22 Q. And are you referring to accusations about the failure

23 to pass on warnings contained in intelligence? Is that

24 what you are saying?

25 A. I vaguely recall hearing something about relationships

 

 

21

 

1 between Rosemary Nelson and the RUC that appeared to

2 suggest that -- I'm trawling my memory and I honestly

3 cannot be clear as to whether there was anything there

4 or not.

5 Q. Okay. Can I just take you back to the third paragraph

6 and, again, we have touched on it briefly, the point

7 here being made by the Deputy Head of Special Branch

8 about uniformed branch? Were you aware at this point of

9 concerns on the part of Special Branch that their

10 uniformed colleagues were passing on -- inappropriately,

11 I mean, of course -- intelligence or other sensitive

12 information?

13 A. I recall conversations -- and I'm not sure that it was

14 this conversation; in fact, I doubt that it was this

15 conversation -- where I had been advised, I think by

16 this Deputy Head of Special Branch, that he was aware

17 that from time to time uniformed officers had added

18 glosses to information that was not drawn from

19 intelligence but that was drawn from who knows where,

20 but which they had decided for reasons of their own to

21 give to people who were potentially targets, which had

22 then caused all manner of trouble thereafter. But I

23 can't remember any specific details.

24 But it wasn't intelligence; it was that they had

25 just sort of added things that sort of came into their

 

 

22

 

1 minds. That's -- from what I remember, he seemed to be

2 implying.

3 Q. But although you can't remember the details, whatever it

4 was had caused some concern to that officer, to the

5 Deputy Head?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Can I ask you to look at the last sentence of

8 paragraph 3 in this context:

9 "And there was the possibility that those warned

10 might seek publicity and to take legal action to obtain

11 more information about the threat."

12 Now, this picks up a theme we have heard some

13 evidence about in the Inquiry already. Was it ever

14 a factor in thinking about how intelligence, targeting

15 intelligence of this kind should be passed on that those

16 who were the recipients of the warning might seek for

17 their own purposes to, if I can put it this way, make

18 something of it?

19 A. We recognised that it was very likely in some kinds of

20 cases to happen, but accepted that it was an inevitable

21 part of the need to seek to protect people.

22 Q. And can I ask you the same question in relation to this

23 as I asked about source protection: are you aware of any

24 cases where that was a sufficient concern so as to lead

25 to the withholding of targeting --

 

 

23

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Thank you. But even if it didn't get to that point, did

3 a concern of that kind tend to make you very cautious,

4 or make the RUC in your dealings with them very

5 cautious, about the circumstances in which such warnings

6 should be issued and the manner in which they would be

7 issued?

8 A. I can't answer for the RUC. I would say from my

9 position, we felt we had to pass -- when there was

10 threat intelligence, we had to pass it.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, can we turn over together, please, to

12 RNI-532-144 (displayed) in paragraph 5, where the

13 officer mentions the Port enquiry, and it looks as

14 though there had been discussion earlier that day about

15 it or some aspect of it. And in the second sentence you

16 see you report a reference to the then Head of South

17 Region Special Branch -- that's B629?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. "... believed that because they contained some colour of

20 suspicion of collusion between the security forces and

21 Loyalists, it might be wise for the relevant ..."

22 Then there is a redacted part:

23 "... reports to be shown to Colin Port."

24 So that very much suggests, does it not, that the

25 reporting was at least of the kind we looked at earlier,

 

 

24

 

1 where it was said that the security forces were

2 providing information?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. That makes sense, doesn't it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now, were you aware of the basis for

7 that view said to be held by the Regional Head of

8 Special Branch, that because that reporting contained

9 a colour of suspicion of collusion, it should be --

10 A. I was aware of it on the basis of what the Deputy Head

11 of Special Branch had said to me.

12 Q. Yes. And it looks in your note as though that officer,

13 the Deputy Head of Special Branch was himself resistant

14 to that suggestion by B629. Is that right?

15 A. He did not believe that the reports were relevant.

16 Q. And on which side of the debate, if there was a debate,

17 were you?

18 A. It is quite clear that I shared the same view as the

19 Deputy Head of Special Branch.

20 Q. Can you explain why you held that view?

21 A. Not now. At the time I clearly thought they were not

22 relevant.

23 Q. Yes, I understand that, but doing what you can with your

24 note and whatever it provokes in your memory about the

25 circumstances as they then pertained, can you help us

 

 

25

 

1 with why you sided with the Deputy Head of

2 Special Branch as opposed to the head of the region?

3 A. Well, I didn't think they were relevant. From what the

4 Deputy Head of Special Branch had said to me, he was

5 saying that he thought that the Head of South Region

6 wanted to show them to Colin Port not because he thought

7 they were relevant, but because he wanted to avoid any

8 suggestion that anything that indicated collusion wasn't

9 being shared, if you see what I mean.

10 Q. Wasn't that a point of view with which you had some

11 sympathy?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Now, the Port investigation was an investigation in part

14 into allegations which had been made very shortly after

15 the murder of collusion in the murder. That's right,

16 isn't it?

17 A. You are telling me that.

18 Q. And you are saying you weren't aware of that at the

19 time, in April 2000?

20 A. I don't recall ever seeing at that time Colin Port's

21 terms of reference, nor of them being brought to my

22 attention. It I had done, I would almost certainly have

23 put them on the file.

24 Q. And you weren't then aware, are you saying, that

25 Colin Port was focusing his attention on dissident

 

 

26

 

1 Loyalist organisations as being potentially responsible

2 for the murder?

3 A. I'm saying that it was clear that he was focusing on

4 dissident Loyalist organisations. I don't dispute that

5 I knew that at this time. And I also knew that he was

6 concerned with the possibility of collusion.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. But it would be using, in my judgment with hindsight,

9 lateral logic to say that, therefore, all accusations --

10 it is like saying Bloggs's daughter is a virgin, the

11 Virgin Mary is a virgin, therefore Bloggs's daughter is

12 the Virgin Mary. It is lateral logic.

13 It was potentially collusion in the murder of

14 Rosemary Nelson. Potentially. Therefore, all collusion

15 is the remit of the Port inquiry. It just doesn't

16 follow.

17 Q. So you didn't think that the intelligence we had seen in

18 relation to the Orange Volunteers, targeting with

19 information provided by members of the security forces,

20 was of relevance to Colin Port's inquiry?

21 A. I clearly didn't feel that at that time.

22 Q. Can I ask you this question: I think you said that you

23 didn't see Colin Port's terms of reference; is that

24 right?

25 A. I don't recall seeing --

 

 

27

 

1 Q. No. Can I ask you a slightly different question: were

2 you aware at this time that he had been promised

3 restricted access in relation to RUC intelligence in his

4 terms of reference?

5 A. I think I had an understanding that that was so, but the

6 detail of which I understood it, I cannot at this stage

7 recall.

8 Q. Now, so far as this conversation and the note we have on

9 the screen is concerned, you will see the record you

10 make of the comments of the Deputy Head of

11 Special Branch continue about eight lines down, where he

12 says, explaining his position:

13 "It would merely ..."

14 That is handing over the material:

15 "... encourage Port to come harrying at the

16 Service's door demanding to see our information,

17 interview the source and to investigate what else we

18 might have to offer."

19 To what extent was that a factor operating in your

20 agreement with the Deputy Head of Special Branch, that

21 you didn't want Port to come hammering at your door and

22 doing all the things that you then set out in your note?

23 A. I honestly can't -- it might have been a factor but --

24 I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just trying to get

25 it into my mind. This was just -- this was a remark

 

 

28

 

1 that the Deputy Head of Special Branch made to me, that,

2 you know, if we were to do this, that Colin Port might

3 come demanding to see X, Y and Z. And my response to

4 that was to say, well, if he was going to come at us,

5 then we needed to discuss it at a higher level. We

6 might well, had he made representations at a higher

7 level and been able to justify why he wanted access to

8 a particular source, have said, "Yes, we will facilitate

9 that". Had he been able to put forward a reasonable

10 case for knowing certain things or wanting to know

11 certain things, we would undoubtedly have sought to

12 cooperate with him.

13 Q. But of course, this is in the context of deciding, or

14 expressing the view anyway, that something should not be

15 handed over to him?

16 A. Because it wasn't relevant.

17 Q. Absolutely. But of course by arriving at that decision,

18 by definition you would have contrived a situation that

19 Port didn't know of the existence of the intelligence.

20 So he then had no basis obviously to come to you and

21 say, "Tell me more about it". If you don't tell

22 somebody anything, they are not going to ask you any

23 questions about it, are they?

24 A. That is so, but that would be to suggest that we were

25 deliberately concealing relevant information, and as

 

 

29

 

1 I have already said on oath to this Inquiry, we would

2 not have done that.

3 Q. Did you consider the possibility of making sure that

4 Colin Port and his team were aware that you were

5 receiving intelligence of this kind and asking him to

6 form his own judgment on the basis of what you told him

7 as to whether he thought it might be relevant and worth

8 pursuing?

9 A. I did not consider doing that, no.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: It was on your judgment that it wasn't

11 relevant?

12 A. It was on my judgment, taken with the judgment of the

13 Deputy Head of Special Branch, taken with the judgment

14 of the Head of Special Branch, taken with the judgment

15 of my director, that it was not relevant.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Now, so far as the note is concerned, which we

17 have on the screen, you set out there about six lines

18 from the end:

19 "I responded that ..."

20 Something has been redacted:

21 "... had been instructed to tell South Region that

22 nothing should be said to Port until the top management

23 of the Service had considered the issues and signalled

24 its concurrence."

25 Now, presumably you were aware that in doing that

 

 

30

 

1 you might be creating difficulties for South Region who,

2 in the person of their head, had expressed a different

3 view?

4 A. No.

5 Q. That wasn't a concern?

6 A. No. I didn't think that it would be creating any

7 difficulties for him.

8 Q. No. And you didn't understand or have any sympathy with

9 the approach that B629 was apparently wanting to take,

10 which was to be as absolutely transparent as possible in

11 the context of collusion?

12 A. Had I thought there was any relevance to this

13 intelligence, to the Port inquiry, I would have been

14 pressing for it to be passed to the Port Inquiry.

15 Q. Now, in your statement at paragraph 10, RNI-844-137 at

16 the top of the page, when you are commenting on this

17 very section of the note, you say at the end of the

18 paragraph:

19 "My sense was that some RUC officers felt the need

20 to take every step to avoid any possibility of

21 allegations of collusion because they were fearful of

22 being accused of it unfairly. My initial stance on this

23 disclosure issue was that it was something that needed

24 to be thought about very carefully."

25 Just looking at the first of the sentences that

 

 

31

 

1 I read out:

2 "Some RUC officers felt the need ..."

3 Et cetera, as far as you understood it, was B629 one

4 of those officers?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Yes. And, again, I ask you: in his position was that

7 not at least an understandable stance for him to take?

8 A. It was understandable.

9 Q. But you didn't agree with it?

10 A. But I didn't agree with it.

11 Q. No. Now, just going back to the note finally in

12 paragraph 5, RNI-532-144 (displayed), you record the

13 Deputy Head of Special Branch saying he:

14 "... thought it was not for the RUC to determine

15 whether the material was relevant to Port, and that, as

16 the originators and owners of the intelligence, we ..."

17 Presumably the Service:

18 "... should consider if it was relevant."

19 So that judgment he was handing to you. Is that

20 right?

21 A. He was seeking to do so.

22 Q. Yes. And did you accept that responsibility?

23 A. It was not that clear cut. It was something that would

24 need -- we needed really to come to an agreement at

25 a senior level. If the RUC had pressed us -- if the

 

 

32

 

1 Deputy Head of Special Branch and the Head of

2 Special Branch had pressed us to pass this information

3 to Colin Port's inquiry team, I would have gone to my

4 director and we would almost certainly have consulted

5 our legal advisers and we would have undoubtedly, I

6 would say, in conclusion have agreed to pass it -- even

7 though we didn't believe it was relevant -- if the

8 senior Head of Special Branch had pressed us to do so.

9 Q. Sorry, can I just ask you, on this question of relevance

10 and granted what you have just been saying about the

11 processes that hypothetically you might have gone

12 through and hypothetically what the answer might have

13 been, you have been clear in your evidence earlier that

14 your knowledge of what Port was investigating and the

15 detail of the investigation was limited?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Perhaps very limited in fact?

18 A. It was limited.

19 Q. Now, that presumably made it rather difficult for you to

20 be the judge of what was relevant to that investigation?

21 A. I don't think that follows. I clearly didn't think so

22 at the time.

23 Q. Indeed. The question is now you are having an

24 opportunity to think about it again --

25 A. I still don't -- I think I would stay with my original

 

 

33

 

1 judgment.

2 Q. But it is based on that limited knowledge of the

3 investigation?

4 A. I don't see any reason to change my judgment at the

5 time.

6 Q. But you would accept, presumably -- you would have to

7 accept -- that Port and his team had a much clearer idea

8 of what was relevant to the investigation than you did?

9 A. They would have had their own views as to what was

10 relevant to their investigation, yes.

11 Q. They would certainly have been much better informed

12 about the investigation than you were?

13 A. They would have been -- yes, about their own

14 investigation.

15 Q. Yes, indeed. Now, we can see from the subsequent pages

16 of the file that in due course the Head of

17 Special Branch, as it were, agreed with your view and,

18 indeed, the view of his deputy, and I would like to move

19 on now to another of your notes, this one some two weeks

20 later, 19 April 2000. It begins at RNI-532-146, and the

21 passage which interests me is at RNI-532-148,

22 paragraph 7 (displayed).

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And here we have the first of a number of references

25 which come from notes made by you at the time to

 

 

34

 

1 complaints being made to you by senior Special Branch

2 officers about the way in which the murder investigation

3 was being conducted. Do you see that in the second and

4 third lines, for example?

5 A. I do. They were complaints that were being made to us

6 because I was not alone.

7 Q. No. But they were being made to you and colleagues, or

8 a colleague, rather than, for example, to other of their

9 colleagues in the RUC, to their senior officers --

10 A. Other colleagues -- there was more than one RUC officer

11 present.

12 Q. Yes, exactly. But suffice it to say there are a number

13 of your notes, are there not?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. In which the various complaints, protests --

16 A. Yes, I am an auditor, as you might say.

17 Q. Yes. Now, that's a very important comment, if I may say

18 so. Are you somebody who makes a full note of

19 conversations?

20 A. Most of the time. Obviously if I were to record fully

21 every conversation, there would not be enough hours in

22 the day.

23 Q. No.

24 A. I tend, as a professional habit, for which I have been

25 chastised in the past, to make more detailed records

 

 

35

 

1 than most.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you about your practice in that

3 regard, and can we just take this note as an example and

4 hope to draw some general conclusions from it. It is

5 typed up. Is that done by you?

6 A. It depends on the circumstances. If it is a short note,

7 I would almost certainly -- and it depends, again, on

8 the hour of the day.

9 Q. Indeed.

10 A. If it is a short note, I would almost certainly have

11 typed it up. Say it is a telephone conversation, I'm

12 having a telephone conversation and -- it is short, I

13 will type it up myself on the computer screen,

14 immediately, there and then. If it is going to be

15 a very long and complicated note, at that time I would

16 probably type it in draft and then send it to my

17 personal assistant who would fair it, send it back to me

18 and I would correct the typing, wording, maybe shuffle

19 paragraphs around and then ask for it to be issued.

20 With a meeting, such as, say, a meeting in

21 Northern Ireland, I would make a few -- after the event,

22 having retired to wherever, my hotel or back to the

23 station, make a few manuscript notes of salient points

24 and then immediately on return to my office, I would

25 either write it up -- occasionally write it up in

 

 

36

 

1 manuscript, but more often than not again write it up on

2 the computer screen and send it to my personal

3 assistant. That's how I did things. I tried to do

4 things as close to the time of the event as possible.

5 Q. So using this again as an example, and it might help to

6 remind you -- it begins on RNI-532-146, and we can see

7 that it is a note of a discussion over lunch in fact.

8 Do you see that?

9 A. I do.

10 Q. And the various topics were covered where there have

11 been substantial redactions, which take us to the last

12 page which we were looking at, RNI-532-148, the heading

13 "The Port and Other Inquiries". So based on what you

14 have been saying, can I take it that -- again, using

15 this as the example -- you would have made some --

16 A. Manuscript notes.

17 Q. -- manuscript notes and then gone through the process

18 that you have described, eventually ending up with this

19 full typed note?

20 A. Yes, correct.

21 Q. Thank you.

22 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I, Mr Phillips -- I do apologise.

23 Mr Phillips referred you to a specific piece of

24 intelligence and you have given your assessment as to

25 the relevance of disclosure, but did you at this stage

 

 

37

 

1 get any sense that you were being drawn into a power

2 struggle here?

3 A. Between who?

4 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Well, between Special Branch and the

5 Port Inquiry?

6 A. A power struggle?

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Special Branch has had guardianship of

8 this intelligence and here we have this unusual

9 circumstance where Mr Port has been brought in to head

10 this inquiry, a different situation for the RUC to

11 handle.

12 A. I wouldn't say a power struggle. I would say there was

13 clearly tension. There was tension. They were nervous,

14 they were anxious, they felt they were in unusual

15 territory. Does that help?

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes, I may come back to it later.

17 Thank you, that's fine.

18 MR PHILLIPS: Just picking that up, the Special Branch

19 officers -- and, again, there are a number of notes and

20 we will come to them -- but in general, is it fair to

21 suggest that they were being taken out of what we have

22 heard described as their comfort zone into new

23 territory?

24 A. Some were and some were not. The Deputy Head of

25 Special Branch was not.

 

 

38

 

1 Q. The Head of South Region?

2 A. I felt was.

3 Q. And his deputy?

4 A. I felt was.

5 Q. Yes. And were there occasions -- again, I'm now running

6 to the end, as it were -- in these conversations where

7 you sensed that feelings were running very high on their

8 side?

9 A. I would say there were times when they appeared very

10 emotional about the subject.

11 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now, just coming back to our note on

12 the screen, what it confirms -- this is what I think

13 I suggested earlier -- was that the Head of

14 Special Branch in fact decided that the report was not

15 relevant. Do you see that? That's some six lines in.

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What I wanted to ask you is this: if the Head of

18 Special Branch had determined that it was relevant and

19 should be disclosed, what process would then have

20 followed?

21 A. I have already answered that question.

22 Q. That was when the process that you have just mentioned

23 would have been followed through; is that right?

24 A. As I say, I answered it. I would have then discussed it

25 further up the tree with the legal advisers and we

 

 

39

 

1 almost certainly would have concurred, or reluctantly or

2 otherwise would have agreed at that point.

3 I mean, I still would have been saying, "I don't

4 think it is relevant" but if everybody else had lined up

5 against me and said, "Well, it is", I would have

6 probably thought, "Well, I'm being -- missing the wood

7 for the trees or something.

8 Q. And in the end, in relation to the intelligence we are

9 talking about, the intelligence we looked at before, the

10 Orange Volunteers intelligence, in your view who had the

11 final say?

12 A. That is almost impossible to answer. It wasn't

13 absolutely clear. Nowhere to my knowledge was it

14 written down who did have the final ownership. It

15 depended on relationships. It depended upon

16 discussions. I know there is, with hindsight, a desire

17 to have absolute clarity and to think everyone knew;

18 here were the rules. Well, it wasn't like that,

19 actually.

20 Q. So what were the factors that made it complicated? The

21 agent was your agent?

22 A. No, it would have been complicated in all circumstances.

23 There wasn't the clarity that people would like there to

24 have been across the piece, so to speak.

25 Q. Just to be a little clearer for us all, are you here

 

 

40

 

1 touching on the question of RUC primacy, for example?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. And whether in practice it was quite as simple as that?

4 A. It wasn't as simple as that.

5 Q. No. Can you --

6 A. I mean, people talk about this as though it is always

7 clear as day. It didn't seem like that to me.

8 From when I was an agent runner in the early 1980s

9 in the Northern Ireland, from when I was the Deputy Head

10 of the section in the early 1990s and when I became the

11 Head of the section in 1999. Primacy -- if you look at

12 the statement made by Merlyn-Rees to the House on

13 26 March 1996, he doesn't mention the Security Service.

14 It is not there, we are invisible, we don't get

15 a mention. It is all about the RUC and the Army, the

16 RUC getting back primacy vis--vis the Army, which they

17 had lost as a result of the chaos of 1969/1970.

18 When it comes to the Security Service Act 1989, the

19 Security Service is given responsibilities for counter

20 intelligence, counter espionage and so on. It doesn't

21 say "except in Northern Ireland". But what existed was

22 we did not have an investigative arm in

23 Northern Ireland. We did not have an executive role in

24 Northern Ireland and, therefore, when it came to

25 executive action, when it came to actual criminal or

 

 

41

 

1 intelligence investigation in Northern Ireland, that was

2 a matter for the RUC, that was their locus. But that

3 did not exclude us from having a locus, having our own

4 national security responsibilities.

5 People talk about -- I have seen in earlier

6 evidence, people talk about a convention. Where is this

7 convention? Is it written down? Does anybody have

8 a copy of it? I haven't seen it.

9 Primacy was a fluid concept that developed over time

10 and it depended upon the relationships between key

11 participants in that process, whether it be the Head of

12 my section, the Head of the branch, the DCIs of the day,

13 the Head of Special Branch and the various regional

14 heads. It all depended on the relationships between

15 these people. Some heads of Special Branch sought to be

16 very territorial and aggressive and wanted to see

17 themselves as the Head of the Security Service in

18 Northern Ireland. Others were far more open, far more

19 pragmatic. It depended on the circumstances. Not

20 absolutely crystal clear.

21 Q. And so just to bring us back to this example and the

22 suggestion I made to you about "what would have happened

23 if", it sounds from your evidence as though this

24 particular issue of the fluidity, the fact that it

25 wasn't cast in stone, is something that would have had

 

 

42

 

1 an influence in the way that matter would have been

2 processed?

3 A. It would have been -- as a result of the lack of

4 clarity, it would have been decided at a higher level

5 and an accommodation would have been arrived at that

6 would have been satisfactory to all sides.

7 But as I say, if senior people -- the Head of

8 Special Branch, the Deputy Head of Special Branch and

9 others had all said, "No, no, this is relevant", then I

10 cannot imagine that the information wouldn't have been

11 passed. But they didn't. They did not believe it to be

12 relevant, in the same way as I did not.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, with this paragraph 7 in mind, which we

14 have been looking at now for some time, can I just ask

15 you to look at a passage of your witness statement,

16 that's RNI-844-137 and paragraph 12 (displayed), because

17 here, in dealing with this very note, the note of the

18 discussion over lunch, you see in the last two

19 sentences, you say:

20 "I have been referred to paragraph 7 of this note

21 for file and asked whether I remember this part of the

22 conversation --

23 A. Paragraph?

24 Q. Paragraph 12. It is on the screen there. Do you see

25 it?

 

 

43

 

1 A. "I have been shown a note for file ..."

2 Yes, that's right, yes.

3 Q. You are referring to this very note, the one we have

4 been looking at. Then you say:

5 "I vaguely remember the lunch with ..."

6 The Head of South Region:

7 "I have been referred to paragraph 7 of this note

8 for file and asked whether I remember this part of the

9 conversation."

10 That's the part recorded in paragraph 7. And you

11 respond:

12 "I do."

13 Now, with that encouragement I would like to ask you

14 about it and see what further you do remember. And it

15 is with this very much in mind that this officer, B629,

16 in his statement to the Inquiry, has suggested that the

17 way you have described his comments is rather, if I can

18 put it this way, overblown. You have gone rather over

19 the top in your description.

20 Now, if I take you back to RNI-532-148 on the screen

21 (displayed), this is the part of the conversation you

22 say you do remember. Do you think that you were

23 overplaying in your note?

24 A. I don't think I was. I think the reason I remember it

25 is because of the emotion involved. I couldn't tell

 

 

44

 

1 you, for example, where the lunch was or what we ate.

2 I remember who was there and I remember the emotion that

3 was generated at the time, and that's why I recorded it.

4 Q. And doing the best --

5 A. It seemed significant.

6 Q. And doing the best you can, do you think you fairly

7 characterised the state of mind of B629 as it appeared

8 to you at that lunch?

9 A. Yes. The person who was actually most upset was not

10 B629, it was --

11 Q. The other person --

12 A. It was his colleague. I subsequently learned that his

13 colleague became very ill and, if memory serves, it

14 might have been not long after this and I don't know

15 whether that was having any effect on him but he was far

16 more emotional than B629.

17 Q. At the lunch?

18 A. At the lunch.

19 Q. Thank you. I'm going to move on to another topic.

20 Would this be a convenient moment?

21 THE CHAIRMAN: We will have a break to, shall we say, five

22 to, or 12 o'clock?

23 MR PHILLIPS: Five to.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Five to. Right.

25 Before the witness leaves, can the video engineer

 

 

45

 

1 please confirm that all the cameras have been

2 switched off?

3 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please escort the witness out.

5 Five to.

6 (11.40 am)

7 (Short break)

8 (12.16 pm)

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Currans, the checklist. Is the public

10 area screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

13 screen closed?

14 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

16 and securely fastened?

17 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

19 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

20 of this chamber?

21 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Can the video engineer please confirm that

23 the two witness cameras have been switched off and

24 shrouded?

25 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

 

 

46

 

1 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

2 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Bring the witness in, please.

4 The cameras on the Panel, the Inquiry personnel and

5 the Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

6 switched bash on.

7 I'm sorry for the delay, the Panel had to have

8 a very urgent discussion about an urgent matter.

9 MR PHILLIPS: Can we move on to another topic and I would

10 like to ask you, please, to look with me at another

11 note, this one at RNI-532-157 (displayed)? This

12 concerns another topic which led to some tension between

13 the investigation team and Special Branch, namely the

14 request for the identity of various RUC Loyalist agents.

15 Now, just to remind you, at RNI-532-158, we see on

16 the next page, the conclusion of this minute. It is not

17 by you. Indeed, do you see there, paragraph 7, you were

18 obviously on leave and you were to be briefed on your

19 return?

20 What I would like to ask you about first of all is

21 to try and put it in some form of context. Again, it

22 recites a discussion with the senior Special Branch

23 officer. If we could go to RNI-532-157, please

24 (displayed), and this time it is B629. The substance

25 begins really in paragraph 2, where he is recorded by

 

 

47

 

1 the author as saying that he wanted to warn the author

2 of something that might affect -- and then there is

3 a redacted passage -- agents:

4 "... and to enlist the Service's support for

5 a proposed RUC line of action."

6 So the request being made to your colleague there is

7 for help and support, and also the purpose of the call

8 was to warn that there might be something in this which

9 might affect the Service's own agents. Is that correct?

10 A. It would appear to be so from the report, yes.

11 Q. Thank you. Now, just standing back from this and

12 looking at what we are seeing here, B629 essentially is

13 warning and also seeking to elicit, as it were, backing

14 from the Service. Was this a regular feature of the

15 interchanges between your section and South Region?

16 A. I would say no.

17 Q. No. Because presumably in, as it were, line management

18 and structural terms, his more usual request for help,

19 as it were, should have gone above, within his own

20 organisation, rather than across to yours?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Yes. Now, when this issue developed -- and we will see

23 how it developed and how you were involved in it in

24 subsequent weeks and months -- were you ever concerned

25 that this appeal to the Service might create tensions

 

 

48

 

1 and difficulties within the Special Branch hierarchy?

2 A. I was always confident that the Deputy Head of

3 Special Branch and the Head of Special Branch would be

4 aware of what was going on and I was also confident that

5 had they any doubts or misgivings about the help that we

6 were being asked as a service to afford to the Head of

7 South Region, that they would have not hesitated to

8 share that with us.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, when you returned from leave and were

10 briefed, as no doubt you were, on this issue --

11 A. I almost certainly was but I can't remember it.

12 Q. No. Given the topic and the importance of it, as we

13 will see from later notes, it is inevitable, isn't it,

14 that you would have been briefed and thereafter engaged

15 with the issue yourself?

16 A. Well, I should have been briefed. Of course, I can't

17 guarantee that I was briefed because my responsibilities

18 were broad-ranging. They were not just in respect of

19 what was going on in Northern Ireland. My section had

20 an wide-ranging remit across the world, as you might

21 say, wherein we had many operations actively going on,

22 and what was happening in Northern Ireland was only part

23 of it.

24 So it was always possible -- I would hope that it

25 wasn't the case, but it was always possible that chance

 

 

49

 

1 simply didn't permit of me being briefed or that my

2 deputy in Northern Ireland, having, as the note shows,

3 discussed this already with the Director of the branch

4 and with the DCI -- or rather he says:

5 "My director had briefed and discussed the matter

6 with the DCI --

7 Q. This is paragraph 6, sorry. For everybody else who is

8 listening, paragraph 6, RNI-532-158 at the top.

9 A. That's right. He said that the director whom he had had

10 a conversation with had briefed both the DCI and DG. He

11 might have, in retrospect, concluded that that was

12 sufficient because of pressure of other work and so on,

13 so I can't absolutely guarantee to you that, yes, he did

14 brief me. He should have done, he probably did, but I

15 just can't be sure.

16 Q. Presumably he should have done because this was a matter

17 that was being considered at the very highest levels,

18 both of the Security Service and the RUC?

19 A. You would have thought so, but I just can't

20 guarantee it.

21 Q. If you had discovered that you hadn't been briefed on it

22 when these very, very senior officers within the Service

23 were dealing with it, presumably you would have been

24 somewhat displeased?

25 A. I would have been surprised.

 

 

50

 

1 Q. When you first heard about it, however you heard about

2 it, this question of the request for the identity of

3 Loyalist agents, what was the nature of your concern

4 from the Service's perspective?

5 A. My only concern about it from what I recall was the

6 possibility that inadvertently, because a few of our

7 cases were joint cases, the names of joint -- jointly

8 handled agents might be passed without our being

9 consulted.

10 Q. In relation to the Port investigation, as at this

11 point -- and, again, obviously I'm saying this so far as

12 you can remember it, so September 2000 we are now at --

13 can I ask you this: to what extent at this point had the

14 Port investigation been made aware of the extent of the

15 Service's coverage of Loyalist organisations?

16 A. I honestly don't know.

17 Q. Are you aware of any such information having been passed

18 to the Port investigation?

19 A. I don't recall it.

20 Q. No. Now, looking at the paragraph 3, which we have on

21 the screen, it looks as though the suggestion being

22 canvassed here between the South Region Head and your

23 colleague is that the Chief Constable of the force might

24 need to have a chat, a discussion, with a very senior

25 officer, the Deputy Director General in the Service.

 

 

51

 

1 Now, had you been made aware of that suggestion,

2 that proposal, would you have thought it an appropriate

3 one?

4 A. Well, I would have imagined that had the Head of South

5 Region actually wished to cause this to happen, then it

6 would have been certainly necessary for the conversation

7 to have been from the RUC side rather than expecting the

8 Director General to speak to the Chief Constable, if you

9 see what I mean; in other words, it couldn't have

10 gone -- he couldn't have expected us to have engineered

11 or have activated that conversation. He would have

12 needed to have caused, through his own channels,

13 hierarchy, the Chief Constable. Had the Chief Constable

14 deemed it appropriate, it would have had to have been

15 that way.

16 Q. In other words, this wasn't a suggestion that could

17 come, as it were, direct from the Service?

18 A. I wouldn't have thought so.

19 Q. Because it would presumably have been seen as

20 inappropriate?

21 A. Yes, interference.

22 Q. Yes, interfering, exactly.

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. Can we just move on to the next document, which records

25 your direct involvement in this and related issues, and

 

 

52

 

1 this is at RNI-532-169 in our file (displayed). It

2 falls into two parts, as it were. There is a front

3 sheet here and then the substance on RNI-532-170 and

4 RNI-532-171. If we just go back to RNI-532-169, please

5 (displayed), and looking at the addressees of this loose

6 minute of yours dated 18 September 2000, again, it is

7 sent to very high level officials within the Security

8 Service, isn't it?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. The Deputy Director General, the Director of your

11 branch, the DCI and the legal adviser amongst others?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And I think in the "copied to", is that the Director

14 General's private secretary, DG/PS?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. So in fact a copy went the head of the organisation?

17 A. It did indeed.

18 Q. Presumably that reflects the nature of the Security

19 Service's concern and the seriousness with which the

20 issue was regarded?

21 A. Well, I felt that potentially this could be a matter of

22 great concern, and in copying it to these very senior

23 officers, I was in a sense almost testing that. They

24 might have come back to me and said, "Why are you

25 copying this to us?" But they didn't.

 

 

53

 

1 Q. I was going to say they did not, did they, as we can see

2 from the subsequent material.

3 So one, I think, by the same token can infer

4 presumably that it was indeed regarded by them also as

5 a matter of concern and as a serious matter. Is that

6 fair?

7 A. Well, I can see an amendation from what I think is the

8 Director General to the incoming DCI --

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. -- saying:

11 "You may want to talk to some [blotted out person]

12 about what to do, if anything, regarding this."

13 In other words, that he is saying that -- I hope he

14 will forgive me for putting words in his mouth, but he

15 is saying this may be an issue.

16 Q. Yes, thank you very much.

17 Now, having laid the groundwork, as it were, I would

18 like to look with you now at the substance at

19 RNI-532-170 and RNI-532-171 (displayed). Can we have

20 them both on the screen at the same time, please.

21 Now, this records a confidential conversation with

22 the same officer, the Head of South Region, doesn't it?

23 A. Hm-mm.

24 Q. And can I take it that you would have followed your

25 usual practice in relation to notetaking and the

 

 

54

 

1 drawing-up of the note?

2 A. Yes -- yes.

3 Q. Thank you. So when we see, for example -- I'm just

4 going to pick out one or two examples -- in the second

5 line on the left-hand side, him telling you that he felt

6 pretty desperate about the Port Inquiry, that would be

7 a contemporaneous or near contemporaneous note of what

8 he had said?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Not, as it were, your impression, but a record of what

11 he had --

12 A. A record of my understanding of his state of mind.

13 Q. Yes, thank you. Now, again, we can see from this that

14 a request for advice and help is being made and you then

15 set out what you describe in the third line as

16 assertions and allegations. And there are four numbered

17 paragraphs beneath it.

18 Now, that term "assertions and allegations", does

19 that suggest that, so far as you were concerned, you

20 didn't know whether they were true --

21 A. That's exactly what they meant, that I had no idea

22 whether they were true or not.

23 Q. So you were recording, as it were, his points as they

24 were made to you --

25 A. Yes, as they were made to me.

 

 

55

 

1 Q. Thank you very much. Were you or did you in the course

2 of the conversation find yourself in a position where

3 you were able to judge for yourself whether they were

4 indeed well founded?

5 A. I didn't feel I was in a position to come to a clear

6 conclusion on those matters.

7 Q. Thank you. Can I just pick up some of the detail. The

8 first point relates to a request for itemised billing on

9 the telephones of some Special Branch officers. So far

10 as you can remember, was that an issue you had been

11 aware of before?

12 A. Which one are we talking about, sorry?

13 Q. Sorry, subparagraph 1, do you see?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Where Mr Port was being accused of getting hold of

16 billing -- do you see this?

17 A. Yes, I do.

18 Q. For the Special Branch officers telephones. Was that an

19 issue that had come across your radar before, so far as

20 you can remember?

21 A. I can't remember. If it had done, I'm sure I would have

22 written it down.

23 Q. It looks as though in the conversation -- if we follow

24 this through in subparagraph 1, this action on the part

25 of Mr Port was linked by B629 to the request made for --

 

 

56

 

1 do you see, four lines from the end:

2 "Identities of all South Region agents targeted

3 against Loyalist dissidents."

4 Can I take it from the way you have written it in

5 the note that that's, as you recorded it, how the Head

6 of South Region put the matter?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. In other words, that he saw Mr Port's obtaining of the

9 billing being prompted by his own rebuttal of the

10 request for the identities of the Loyalist agents?

11 A. I cannot -- I recorded what he said to me. I would be

12 reluctant to state that I knew the way that the logic

13 was working in his brain.

14 Q. To move on, you record him as saying that:

15 "The Chief Constable had promised to support South

16 Region's stand."

17 Do you see that?

18 A. Yes, I do.

19 Q. What was the stand, as you understood it?

20 A. As I understood it, the stand that the Head of South

21 Region was opposed to the idea of handing across the

22 identities of all the Loyalist agents in South Region.

23 That was my understanding. And that the head of South

24 Region appeared to believe that he had the

25 Chief Constable's support in this position. That was my

 

 

57

 

1 understanding.

2 Q. Indeed. But it is fair to say, isn't it, that he was

3 also letting you know of his concern that the

4 Chief Constable might not continue to hold the line?

5 A. He did seem anxious about that.

6 Q. And you return to it in paragraph 4, don't you, across

7 the page, at RNI-532-171? Do you see on the right-hand

8 side of the screen now?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. There you record his anxiety?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. "... that Flanagan might not hold the line"?

13 A. Yes, that he was anxious about it.

14 Q. And as far as he was expressing it to you, if the

15 Chief Constable did not hold the line, South Region

16 would have been let down. That's the way he was

17 putting it?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Again, in relation to this note -- and I'm not going to

20 go into too much detail because I don't think it is

21 necessary -- the officer, B629, has suggested that you

22 may have rather overpitched this, over-coloured it, and

23 generally expressed things in rather too colourful

24 a way. What do you say in answer to that suggestion?

25 A. I hope it is not true.

 

 

58

 

1 Q. You stand by your note?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, can I ask you to look back to the

4 left-hand side of the screen and (iii). Here

5 a different allegation is being made and this, in short,

6 was an allegation that Port had leaked sensitive

7 information.

8 Now, do you see that in the sixth line, B629 is

9 recorded by you as telling you that he had:

10 "... discovered subsequently from unimpeachable

11 sources that Port had briefed members of his

12 investigative team on the sensitive material that B629

13 had given him."

14 Do you see that?

15 A. I do.

16 Q. Did he, B629, tell you any more about the nature of

17 these unimpeachable sources?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Now, in relation to this point specifically, the idea

20 that Port was leaking sensitive information, presumably

21 that would have been a matter of concern to you and to

22 your service?

23 A. He didn't have any of my information to leak.

24 Q. But would it perhaps have made you even less willing to

25 give him any?

 

 

59

 

1 A. If we had had information of relevance to him, we would

2 have given it to him and explained very clearly our

3 expectations and requirements about its protection and

4 the need for its protection. That might have been

5 coloured, to use the term you referred to just a little

6 bit earlier on, by the suggestions, but remember, they

7 were suggestions, they were allegations and assertions.

8 I did not know whether these were true or to what extent

9 they were true.

10 Q. No. Can I ask you this question, therefore: did you

11 ever find out any more on this issue; in other words,

12 whether there was any substance?

13 A. No, I did not, no. But of course, this is one of the

14 reasons -- because these matters are so important and so

15 sensitive, that I'm sort of raising it up.

16 Q. Yes. Because there were various things going on at

17 once, as we have just been seeing in these documents:

18 On the one hand, requests for agent identities, and on

19 the other hand these allegation being made, including an

20 allegation that, as it were, Port was not to be trusted

21 with sensitive information. So that must also have been

22 a matter of some concern, even if not proven at this

23 stage?

24 A. It was certainly of sufficient concern to me to wish to

25 raise it to a senior level.

 

 

60

 

1 Q. Thank you. Could I ask you now about the way in which

2 these points were put by B629, because the note is

3 striking for its constant reference to Port, Colin Port,

4 then the Deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk, who was

5 leading the investigation.

6 As far as you can recall, were the complaints

7 personalised in this way or is "Port" a shorthand for

8 the investigation team?

9 A. To be absolutely honest, as the Inquiry rightly expects

10 of me, I would say it is my recollection that they were

11 personalised.

12 Q. So that the allegations and, in a sense, therefore, the

13 animus was being directed against the individual?

14 A. The concern and anxiety was being directed against the

15 individual.

16 Q. Yes. Did you, as far as you can recall, ever hear such

17 concern, anxiety, being expressed about any other

18 member, individual member, of the Murder Investigation

19 Team?

20 A. I don't recall it.

21 Q. No. Now, in paragraph 6, at the end of your note in the

22 comment on the next page, RNI-532-171, you give your

23 view about how B629 appeared to be to you.

24 Now, you have made a special point of this in

25 a sense by putting it there under the comment. Do you

 

 

61

 

1 think, looking back on it, that that overwrought and

2 extremely tired state coloured the way in which he was

3 talking to you about the matters which are recorded on

4 the left-hand side?

5 A. It might have done. He seemed exhausted.

6 Q. Yes. Now, in your final sentence you say of yourself

7 that you attempted to be sympathetic but without

8 committing yourself or the Service to anything specific.

9 Can I just ask you, what was the rationale here? Was

10 this a matter that had to be considered --

11 A. At a higher level. That's exactly correct.

12 Q. So you weren't in a position to offer or commit to

13 anything?

14 A. Exactly.

15 Q. Thank you.

16 A. Because these issues were so potentially momentous that

17 I felt it needed to be looked at at a higher level than

18 mine.

19 Q. Now, in your statement you explain that you arranged

20 a meeting between the Head of South Region and his

21 deputy and the Security Service legal adviser. This is

22 in paragraph 15, and the reference for that, I should

23 say, is at RNI-844-138 (displayed). Do you see 15

24 there, two thirds of the way down the page you say:

25 "This was my attempt to help him. It was not within

 

 

62

 

1 my power or role to do anything more."

2 Now, we know from the file that that meeting took

3 place about a month after this note we have been looking

4 at in October. Was that still the position, therefore,

5 at the time of the meeting with the legal adviser on

6 18 October, that you were not able to assist any

7 further?

8 A. Yes, I think that's right. It had been -- it had been

9 considered at a higher level and the response that I had

10 received was that we should seek to help the RUC gain

11 appropriate legal guidance as to how to relate to

12 Mr Port on these sort of issues, and that that was it,

13 really.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, for everybody's note, we can see,

15 indeed, the reference on the screen there, the note of

16 the meeting with the legal adviser is at RNI-532-172.

17 Now, I would like to move on in the story, if I may,

18 to the beginning of the following year, January 2001,

19 and another of your loose minutes. This one is at

20 RNI-532-174 (displayed). Here you record that during

21 the morning you were contacted by what you describe as

22 an agitated B629, who was ringing to tell you that his

23 boss, the Head of Special Branch, had just informed him

24 of the Chief Constable's decision, namely to release the

25 names of Loyalist agents.

 

 

63

 

1 Again, can I just ask you, please, in relation to

2 this note and the way in which you set out what B629's

3 mood was, as far as you could tell, and what he said,

4 was this produced in the way that you have described

5 for us?

6 A. I would have typed this up immediately. If it is

7 a short note, I would have put it straight on to my

8 computer screen probably within minutes of having had

9 the conversation.

10 Q. Again, I am afraid, I put to you the suggestion being

11 put forward by B629 is that this is all rather

12 overstated. What is your answer to that?

13 A. I hope it is not.

14 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the detail of this is

15 concerned, he was asking as a matter of urgency to meet

16 you and the legal adviser. This is five lines down.

17 Then you say this:

18 "... in order to discuss what protocols the IC could

19 apply to Port in order to tie him down firmly in the

20 context of the source protection."

21 Do you see that?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Can you explain what that means?

24 A. I think, if my memory serves, he wanted to be able to

25 ensure that his sources would be given adequate,

 

 

64

 

1 appropriate protection and if our legal advisers could

2 help him produce forms of words for use with Mr Port,

3 then he would be grateful. Something along those lines.

4 Q. And how much of that, or what aspect of that involved

5 tying him down?

6 A. I don't know, I simply wrote down what he said.

7 Q. Was a suggestion that the protocols would, as it were,

8 seek to keep Port and what he was doing under some form

9 of control?

10 A. That may have been in his mind.

11 Q. Now, again, to summarise, as far as you can recall, was

12 the meeting with the legal adviser set up as he had

13 requested?

14 A. I assume it was. Is it recorded?

15 Q. I think it may be, but --

16 A. Yes, I think it was.

17 Q. Yes --

18 A. I think it was, yes.

19 Q. Thank you. Can I just move you on to the second

20 paragraph because you then make a telephone call to the

21 Deputy Head of Special Branch and it looks as though

22 what you were concerned to discover is whether the

23 Chief Constable intended to pass to the Port team the

24 names of your agents. That was obviously your concern;

25 is that right?

 

 

65

 

1 A. Yes. Inadvertently because of the joint agent

2 situation, as I alluded to earlier on.

3 Q. Clearly the way it is drafted raises that issue?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. So far as you were concerned, he wouldn't have had

6 authority to pass your agents' identities to Port,

7 would he?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. So, again, we are back to this question of those agents

10 who were jointly handled; is that right?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. Now, in terms of authority -- and, again, keeping it

13 general and hypothetical -- in relation to agents or

14 sources who, as it were, moved from organisation to

15 organisation, handled first by one and then next by

16 another, in relation to those cases, would the Service

17 have expected to be consulted before the release of an

18 identity in that situation?

19 A. It -- if the service had handed over fully an agent from

20 the Service to the RUC, then the Service would not have

21 expected to be consulted. If the Service was still

22 actively engaged in the running of the case, then the

23 Service would have expected to have been consulted.

24 However, a grey area would come in depending upon the --

25 who was actually in the lead in a given agent case

 

 

66

 

1 because even though some cases were joint, one side or

2 the other was always in the lead in those cases.

3 Q. Thank you. In relation to this issue and the concern

4 that you had, it looks, although the passage is

5 redacted, as though the comment that came back was:

6 "He doubted the Chief Constable had thought about

7 this point. I told ..."

8 Then another redacted name:

9 "... that the Service would insist on being

10 consulted"?

11 A. About joint casework.

12 Q. That's the question.

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Thank you. Did you, after this conversation, as far as

15 you can recall, do anything to ensure that at

16 Chief Constable level the Service's concerns about this

17 matter were well understood?

18 A. No, except insofar as having had the conversation

19 with -- as you can see it has been copied again to the

20 Director General and to the DCI and it has gone to

21 lawyers and other ... I would have expected, on the

22 basis of that conversation, the Deputy Head of

23 Special Branch to have spoken to the Head of

24 Special Branch, to have reminded him to remind the

25 Chief Constable that there would be limits that would be

 

 

67

 

1 expected.

2 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you, are you able to assist

3 us as to whether that did in fact take place?

4 A. I don't know.

5 Q. You don't know?

6 A. I can't recall.

7 Q. No. Thank you.

8 Now, moving on just a few days later to RNI-532-192

9 (displayed), again another note by you, and this records

10 a conversation with the Deputy Head of Special Branch on

11 15 January, under the heading "Port Inquiry". Obviously

12 there were various topics covered. You refer there

13 first to the draft documents which have been produced in

14 an attempt to help the RUC deal appropriately with the

15 Port Inquiry. And then he is recorded by you as saying

16 that:

17 "He and the Head of Special Branch were quite clear

18 that no names of Security Service agents were to be

19 passed to Port without the specific permission of the

20 service."

21 Then the same redacted name:

22 "... the Deputy Head of Special Branch, added that

23 he expected more leaks from the Port team."

24 So this takes us back to the point you record B629

25 making to you in, I think, September?

 

 

68

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Are you able to assist with whether you had had further

3 information about the leaks from the Port team at this

4 point?

5 A. No, this was just a -- it was a remark made by the

6 Deputy Head of Special Branch, and I recorded it because

7 he had made it.

8 Q. But it looks from that as though he shared the concern

9 of B629 that information, sensitive information, was not

10 being held securely by the Port team?

11 A. That would be a reasonable interpretation.

12 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on just one page and about

13 a week in time, to RNI-532-193 (displayed), here is

14 a note not written by you but copied to you, written by

15 the DCI and dated, as I said, 23 January; again, very

16 high level copyees at the top of your service.

17 There is one aspect of it I want to ask you about in

18 paragraph 3. By way of context, it records a meeting

19 with the Chief Constable in which he had explained to

20 the DCI the basis for the decision that he had made in

21 relation to Loyalist agents.

22 Third paragraph:

23 "The Chief Constable appreciated Service support.

24 He implied that HSB had been saying the service was

25 opposed to his decision. I clarified this."

 

 

69

 

1 Then the DCI records a further comment about the

2 matter. What was the Service's position on the issue on

3 which the Chief Constable had made a decision?

4 A. The Service didn't have a position. It wasn't our role

5 to have a position on what the Chief Constable decided

6 to do in respect of the identities of his agents.

7 Q. So in other words, bringing the two points together that

8 we have now been through, in relation to RUC agents, you

9 are saying that the Service had no position; was

10 neutral?

11 A. Was neutral. It would have been interference for us to

12 have taken issue with the decision of a Chief Constable

13 about what was to be done with resources that were his.

14 Q. But in relation to Service agents, jointly handled

15 agents, that was a different matter?

16 A. That was a different matter depending upon who was in

17 the lead in those agents' cases.

18 Q. The joint --

19 A. The joint agent cases.

20 Q. That, in relation to the RUC sources or agents, is

21 a clear statement, if I may say so, of the position.

22 Was there nonetheless a good deal of sympathy on the

23 part of your service to the concerns of the senior

24 Special Branch officers that we have been looking at?

25 A. We had sympathy with the fact that they were clearly

 

 

70

 

1 under stress.

2 Q. And what about their stance and their concern that the

3 Chief Constable was going to let them down, et cetera?

4 A. It wasn't our position to have a -- to advocate an angle

5 on that. We were sympathetic to the fact that they were

6 clearly under stress and that they were emotional about

7 it; we couldn't be seen to be interfering. We didn't

8 wish to interfere. It wasn't our role to interfere in

9 the decisions of the Chief Constable unless, of course,

10 it was impacting -- if he was making decisions about us,

11 if you see what I mean. That would be different.

12 Q. Thank you. Can we just move to a note made the next

13 day -- and this is made by you -- 24 January. It is at

14 RNI-532-195 (displayed), and this is copied to your

15 director and others where there have been redactions,

16 and the heading is "RUC SB liaison, Belfast."

17 And it looks as though it is a note of a discussion

18 at a farewell lunch; is that right?

19 A. Correct.

20 Q. And so far as the Inquiry is concerned, the relevant

21 passage is at RNI-532-196 and RNI-532-197. Could we

22 have those both on the screen, please (displayed).

23 Thank you.

24 Now, at the bottom left on our screen, a redacted

25 name, obviously one of those present at the lunch:

 

 

71

 

1 "... expressed the RUC's gratitude for the Service's

2 efforts to assist regarding Port, but was pessimistic

3 about the future. He said the view in the RUC was that

4 eventually the Government would cave in to Nationalist

5 Republican pressure and order public inquiries into the

6 Finucane, Nelson and Hamill cases. I expressed surprise

7 that the Chief Constable had agreed to the request that

8 Port should be told the identities of all the RUC's

9 Loyalist agents."

10 So that's you recording your own reaction, I think?

11 A. It is recording my surprise because I had been advised

12 earlier that this was unlikely to happen.

13 Q. You had been advised by B629, as we have seen?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. That the Chief Constable would hold the line?

16 A. Yes, so I was surprised to be told that he had actually

17 decided that he would do that.

18 Q. It was then explained to you, as the note sets out, that

19 the Chief Constable had been left with little choice:

20 "Having told Port at the start he would be given all

21 possible assistance, the only alternative to complying

22 with his request was to sack him and terminate the

23 inquiry."

24 So that was the rather extreme way in which it was

25 being put to you at this lunch; is that right?

 

 

72

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And this presumably was a reference to the terms of

3 reference, Mr Port's terms of reference that you and

4 I talked about a little while ago?

5 A. I assume so.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. But no one waved the terms of reference in front of me

8 over this farewell lunch, I should say.

9 Q. Just moving on:

10 "The RUC, with assistance from the Service, was now

11 seeking to manage the situation."

12 Can I take it that that's a reference to the

13 assistance, the legal adviser's assistance with

14 protocols and matters that of kind?

15 A. I assume so.

16 Q. Yes. Then the note records pretty dark mutterings in

17 relation to the impact of all of this:

18 "Belfast SB were confident their Loyalist agent

19 coverage would survive Port. However, he added, if the

20 Government acceded to demands for further public

21 inquiries, then RUC Loyalist agent coverage would

22 probably collapse throughout Northern Ireland."

23 So although it was a farewell lunch, it sounds at

24 least as though this part of it was pretty gloomy?

25 A. Yes. I should say that I'm a teetotaller, so my view

 

 

73

 

1 was not coloured by drink.

2 Q. Again, with that important information in mind, can

3 I ask you to confirm that, as far as you are concerned,

4 this is an accurate record of what was said?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, the final note of yours I would like to

7 take you to is at RNI-532-198 (displayed) and it is

8 8 February. Here, again, you record a conversation with

9 the Head of South Region.

10 A. I didn't write this note.

11 Q. Oh, I'm so sorry. This is one of your colleagues?

12 A. That's right.

13 Q. Is that correct?

14 A. I think this is written by my deputy in

15 Northern Ireland.

16 Q. Thank you very much. And copied to you, amongst others?

17 A. Correct.

18 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as we are concerned today, the

19 part I would like to look at with you first, please, is

20 where the deputy records that throughout the

21 discussions, B629 did not hide his -- then there are two

22 points:

23 "Anger at the way he had been treated by Port and

24 his inquiry team, and feeling of betrayal by the

25 Chief Constable, who'd gone back on his word over

 

 

74

 

1 disclosure of agent identities."

2 In relation to those two themes -- obviously closely

3 related -- were you yourself aware that that was how

4 B629 felt about the situation?

5 A. I felt that B629 was emotional about this whole issue,

6 but if my deputy records that he was experiencing anger,

7 then I'm sure he recorded that accurately.

8 Regarding the feeling of betrayal, I think -- again,

9 that's a true bill. That was definitely the impression

10 that was being projected to us at the time by 629. It

11 is what he felt. It was what was coming over to us.

12 Q. So just to put it at its simplest, when you received

13 your copy of this note for file, you wouldn't have been

14 surprised, given what you already knew, to read it?

15 A. No.

16 Q. No. Can I ask you to look at paragraph 6 on the next

17 page, RNI-532-199 (displayed) and paragraph 6 under the

18 heading "Bad faith by Port". He is recorded as

19 illustrating -- this is the Head of South Region -- his

20 feelings of anger, almost contempt, for Port and his

21 methods of inquiry. Then he gives an example. Then at

22 the end, 9:

23 "The Head of South Region said that such activity

24 ..."

25 i.e. the activity he had just described to your deputy

 

 

75

 

1 at the meeting:

2 "... was not the action of a honourable man. He

3 added that he considered the leaks to the press about

4 Port's request for agent identities a deliberate step to

5 put pressure on RUC SB to comply."

6 Now, in relation to that last point, were you aware

7 at this stage of the suggestion being made by

8 Special Branch that there had been a deliberate leak by

9 the Port team to the press of their request for agent

10 identities?

11 A. If -- I think I would have made a note of it. I would

12 have written it down somewhere if I had known. If he

13 had been so specific, I think I would have written it

14 down.

15 Q. But it is not something you can now recall when

16 re-reading this note?

17 A. I'm sure I would have recorded it. I'm not saying it

18 didn't happen, but I'm sure I would have recorded it if

19 it had been said to me.

20 Q. Again, just to return to the theme you and I discussed

21 just a while ago, the feelings of anger, contempt, the

22 sense that Mr Port was in some way dishonourable, is

23 that consistent with the views as you knew them and as

24 you had heard them expressed by the Head of South Region

25 at this stage?

 

 

76

 

1 A. It was a rather -- it is a rather quaint mode of

2 expression that resonates with me in the context of the

3 person being stated as making the observation.

4 Q. Oh, I see, the Head of South Region?

5 A. The Head of South Region.

6 Q. In other words, it is the sort of thing you can imagine

7 he might have said?

8 A. Yes, precisely.

9 Q. Thank you. Those are all the questions I have for you

10 in this open session, but as I say to all witnesses, if

11 there is any other matter which we haven't covered but

12 which you would like to draw to the attention of the

13 panel, this is your opportunity.

14 A. I honestly cannot think of any.

15 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

16 Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN

17 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I just follow up on the

18 question of primacy.

19 You gave a very full answer to Mr Phillips about

20 where primacy laid and why it wasn't a simple question,

21 which I appreciate. Can I ask you, from your long

22 experience of sort of relating with the RUC, were there

23 ever occasions where the Service thought X and the RUC

24 thought non-X, and both of you held the view very

25 strongly, where the Service view didn't prevail?

 

 

77

 

1 A. The service view -- it would -- everything would depend

2 on particular circumstances. I find it difficult to

3 generalise --

4 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I wasn't asking you to generalise.

5 I was asking you to specify.

6 A. I'm trying to think of a specific incident that answers

7 your question: where we didn't prevail. Where we didn't

8 prevail. Let me think of something. Can I come back to

9 you on that?

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: That would be very helpful.

11 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Just to revisit this issue of a power

13 struggle. Having now been taken by Mr Phillips through

14 all the documents and your memory refreshed, having seen

15 it in the context of a fairly concise set of events,

16 comments and the way that you have described the

17 emotions and the behaviour of B629, do you reflect at

18 all on the possibility of a personalised power struggle

19 here, or that what was done, what was said and the

20 emotions that were displayed were genuine around

21 professional concerns as opposed to a power struggle?

22 A. I would say there were definitely strong professional

23 concerns. I would say that 629 -- I repeat that he

24 seemed at times very overtired, really overworked. He

25 overworked himself and there were times when he looked

 

 

78

 

1 very drawn, and I couldn't -- I cannot help now, with

2 hindsight, wondering to what extent that was colouring

3 his approach to things. I don't know whether he had

4 some personal animus with Mr Port, whether there had

5 been some sort of interaction between the two of them

6 that was sort of jaundicing him. I honestly don't know.

7 But he certainly felt very strongly about any of these

8 issues, for whatever reason was at the back of it.

9 Some of it was definitely professional, but whether

10 it was all professional or not, I cannot say.

11 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: No. Thank you very much indeed.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your assistance to

13 the Panel.

14 Before the witness leaves, can the video engineer

15 please confirm that all the cameras have been

16 switched off?

17 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

19 We will adjourn now.

20 (1.12 pm)

21 (The Inquiry adjourned until 2.00 pm the following day)

22

23

24

25

 

 


 

1 I N D E X

2
S224 (sworn) ..................................... 1
3
Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
4
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 76
5
Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 77
6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25