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Full Hearings

Hearing: 13th November 2008, day 76

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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


on Thursday, 13 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am


Day 76

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1 Thursday, 13 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

3 (Proceedings delayed)

4 (10.28 am)

5 MR CHRIS ALBISTON (sworn)

6 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

7 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

8 Yes, Mr Phillips?

9 MR PHILLIPS: Mr Albiston, could you give us your full

10 names, please?

11 A. I'm Christopher Charles Kennedy Albiston.

12 Q. Thank you very much. I think it is right that you have

13 made a statement to the Inquiry. Perhaps we can have

14 that at RNI-846-292 (displayed), please? Do we see your

15 signature and the date of 4 July this year on the final

16 page there?

17 A. That's correct, sir.

18 Q. And I would like to turn right back to the beginning of

19 the statement, please, RNI-846-292 (displayed), and just

20 ask you a few questions about your career.

21 You came into the RUC as a chief inspector, you tell

22 us right at the beginning of your statement, in 1989.

23 You came from another police force as I understand it.

24 Is that correct?

25 A. That's correct, sir. I was in the Metropolitan Police

 

 

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1 prior to that.

2 Q. Thank you. And your career within the RUC you set out

3 in the first two paragraphs of your statement. Can

4 I just ask you, before we move through the career, at

5 the time you joined in 1989, were there many officers

6 such as yourself whose backgrounds were in other forces?

7 A. When I arrived in the RUC, I found very few who were

8 transfers from the mainland, but there were a few, yes.

9 Q. Did that position change during your period of service?

10 A. Not significantly, as far as I am aware.

11 Q. No. Now, you tell us first that you were in a uniformed

12 position in Lisburn and then you went as

13 a superintendent to Command Secretariat?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. What were your duties there, please?

16 A. I was the assistant to the Chief Superintendent in

17 Command Secretariat, dealing with force policy and

18 liaison with other bodies.

19 Q. Thank you. Then in 1994 you moved to Special Branch as

20 a detective superintendent, and you tell us there that

21 you were in charge of the assessment desks.

22 Now, was it unusual for an officer to join

23 Special Branch at that relatively senior level?

24 A. When I joined I thought it was, but my experience there

25 was that there were very many officers at superintendent

 

 

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1 level whose career path had not in fact been

2 predominantly Special Branch. A number had been CID

3 officers, a number that I know, and there were one or

4 two like me -- well, I had been a CID officer myself in

5 London, not here -- and there were one or two others

6 that had come into Special Branch from other police

7 disciplines.

8 Q. That role as a detective superintendent in charge of the

9 assessment desks, what were your responsibilities?

10 A. I think it would be best if the Tribunal were able to

11 see a copy of the job description because that would

12 be -- that could give a fuller answer than I can now

13 from memory. But in brief, my function was to supervise

14 the assessment desks, which received intelligence from

15 many different quarters, to try and make sense of the

16 intelligence picture, the overall intelligence picture

17 and to provide a source of intelligence to other parts

18 of the RUC and to other agencies.

19 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you, going back to the

20 question about your previous experience, was it

21 difficult, if I can put it this way, for you to adjust

22 to your new work, your new role, within Special Branch?

23 A. I think any change of disciplines within a police career

24 presents certain difficulties. There are certain

25 commonalities of attitude and purpose within the

 

 

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1 different branches of the police. Special Branch, as

2 the name implies, has a specialised function, but

3 I moved into the CID in London at the rank of detective

4 inspector and that presented difficulties as well. I

5 think we have to take on these challenges. It was

6 a move which I sought.

7 Q. Thank you. I would like to get your help, please, in

8 looking at the structure of Special Branch at this

9 stage, which I am going to call the pre-Warner stage.

10 Can we have the chart, please: Special Branch

11 pre-Warner? (displayed)

12 Thank you.

13 Now, this is a chart which the Inquiry has put

14 together in the light of evidence from a number of

15 witnesses and a substantial body of material, and

16 I obviously want to check with you that it adequately

17 reflects your understanding of the structure before the

18 changes brought about by the Warner Report, to which we

19 will turn in a moment.

20 If you look on the left-hand side of the screen, do

21 we see you in the role we have just been discussing as

22 the Superintendent in E3?

23 A. Yes, that's correct, sir.

24 Q. Then the various desks there. Two you refer to in your

25 statement, in particular the Republican and Loyalist

 

 

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1 desks. Can I just ask you, in relation to the officers

2 working in the desks below you, can you remember for us

3 how many of what rank there were in A and B?

4 A. I can start at the top and perhaps my recollection will

5 become less accurate as I go down.

6 Q. Thank you.

7 A. On the E3A Republican side, there was a detective chief

8 inspector who supervised the Republican desks and who

9 also acted as my deputy in relation to a number of

10 tasks. There were a number of detective inspectors who

11 answered to the Detective Chief Inspector, each being

12 responsible, I think, for one desk, but I'm prepared to

13 be corrected on that because there may have been more

14 than one inspector on some of the busier desks. And

15 then there would be a small number of detective

16 sergeants and detective constables on each of the desks

17 according to the volume of work, the throughput of work

18 which those desks would undertake.

19 Q. As I understand it, within the Republican desk there

20 were a number of specific desks for different parts of

21 Northern Ireland. Is that correct?

22 A. Yes, it was broken down geographically and also to some

23 extent there was a separation for different Republican

24 organisations.

25 Q. I see. And in relation to the Loyalist desk, E3B, did

 

 

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1 the same structure broadly apply?

2 A. Very broadly, yes. There was a detective chief

3 inspector there. He was the man who was required to

4 deal with my day-to-day administrative correspondence

5 when I wasn't available to do it, and he also ran the

6 Loyalist desks which included other Special Branch

7 responsibilities and in terms of national security,

8 which don't fall within the normal Northern Ireland

9 considerations.

10 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as these two desks are

11 concerned, in your statement you tell us that E3A was

12 the biggest group within E3. What was the reason for

13 that, please?

14 A. That was because the volume of intelligence and the

15 number of incidents which we were required to anticipate

16 and respond to was greater on that side.

17 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the other parts of E3 are

18 concerned, I just want to ask you one or two very

19 specific questions.

20 You see there there is a box "Registry", and as the

21 Inquiry understands it, that was responsible for, as it

22 were, maintaining and managing the paper, the vast

23 amount of paper that came into E3. Is that correct?

24 A. Yes, registry was -- physically it was an enormous room

25 and it was staffed predominantly by civilian employees

 

 

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1 who looked after the papers and had to be able to find

2 them and file them and so on.

3 Q. Yes, because again, as the Inquiry understands it, at

4 the time we are talking about, roughly the mid 1990s,

5 there was basically a paper system in operation with

6 computerisation coming in, if I can put it that way?

7 A. That's exactly right, yes.

8 Q. Thank you. It seems at least as though there was a good

9 period of time where the two were operating alongside

10 each other?

11 A. Yes, at that time, that would be correct.

12 Q. In your statement you have referred to two systems:

13 Prism and -- I don't know if I'm going to pronounce this

14 correctly -- but CAISTER?

15 A. Yes, that would be my pronunciation as well.

16 Q. Thank you. Is that the system that became known, or

17 perhaps was superseded by, MACER? Is that something you

18 are aware of?

19 A. I don't think I would be best qualified to say how exact

20 the progression or the inheritance was on those systems.

21 Q. Now, I would like to show you, please, paragraph 5 of

22 your statement at RNI-846-293 (displayed). Here you

23 deal with departments E3 and E9, and clearly there are

24 a number of redactions and I'm not going to go behind

25 it. But so far as your responsibilities as

 

 

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1 Superintendent are concerned, the responsibilities that

2 we talked about a little while ago, you were

3 responsible, were you, for all of E3?

4 A. That's correct, sir, yes.

5 Q. And if we could go back to the chart, please, the

6 Special Branch pre-Warner chart, to whom did you report?

7 A. Well, E3 and another department, which doesn't appear on

8 the chart, were grouped together and we -- it was headed

9 by a superintendent and we both reported to an officer

10 who was called the Detective Chief Superintendent

11 Intelligence.

12 Q. And does he appear anywhere on this chart that you can

13 see?

14 A. No, I can't see him on this chart.

15 Q. No. Are you able to assist us with the other department

16 that you have just mentioned? Is it something that

17 doesn't feature at all on the chart?

18 A. Well, it does appear on this chart actually.

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. It is right on the right-hand side, E9.

21 Q. Yes. So did your responsibilities at this stage in the

22 mid 1990s extend to E9?

23 A. Not in the first part of my service there, no.

24 Q. Did they subsequently extend to it when you became the

25 head of the --

 

 

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1 A. Yes, later on I was the acting head and then the

2 substantive head of the two sections in the role of

3 Detective Chief Superintendent Intelligence.

4 Q. Indeed. But the point I think I'm getting from you in

5 your earlier answers is that above your level but below

6 the Deputy Head of Special Branch, there was a detective

7 chief superintendent to whom you reported?

8 A. That's exactly right, sir, yes.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, again just focusing on the position pre

10 the IMG -- pre-Warner, as we call it -- in the chart,

11 can I ask you about intelligence analysis? What

12 analytical work and intelligence did E3 undertake?

13 A. I think, perhaps at the risk of trying the patience of

14 the hearing, I should at this stage say that nowadays

15 the word "analysis" is used in a slightly different

16 context from the way that most of us understood the word

17 in the mid 1990s, and that -- nowadays we tend to review

18 these matters as either analysis or assessment, which

19 are nowadays regarded as being two different things.

20 I'm not sure that in 1994 I would have recognised

21 the significance of that distinction. Having said that,

22 what we called analysis then took the form of looking at

23 intelligence which was supplied to us, bearing in mind

24 that we were a Headquarters unit which didn't get the

25 intelligence -- we didn't get it ourselves. So when it

 

 

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1 came to us, it was already in a refined form. It had

2 been assessed -- and I use that word carefully -- before

3 it came to us, but it had been assessed by people who

4 might not have access to some of the other intelligence

5 that we had. So we applied our knowledge of the bigger

6 picture to try and produce an analysis or an assessment.

7 Now, nowadays, of course, the word "analysis" tends

8 to be applied to a process, which is employed by people,

9 sometimes civilians, who have been specially trained for

10 two years in this technique. And it is perhaps more

11 mathematical and scientific, if you like, whereas what

12 we tended to do was to try to look at things

13 qualitatively.

14 Q. With those helpful caveats in mind about terminology,

15 can I ask you, in your statement you tell us in some

16 detail about the various kinds of reports that were

17 produced when you were in, and the head of, IMG, the

18 Intelligence Management Group. Looking back at the

19 pre-IMG phase, were reports of that kind, similar

20 reports, being produced by E3?

21 A. Yes, E3 would produce lots of different types of

22 reports. We would produce broad brush reports which

23 were general assessments of the current threat, which

24 were intended to inform policy-making decisions, if you

25 like, at the highest level, both within the police

 

 

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1 service and jointly with our colleagues in other

2 organisations for political purposes.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. But we would also produce much shorter and more direct

5 reports, which were intended to guide operational police

6 commanders in the deployment of their resources and the

7 protection of people and buildings and institutions and

8 so on.

9 Q. Thank you very much. And again, in your role as

10 a superintendent did you have regular liaison

11 with other senior officers within the RUC?

12 A. Yes, sir.

13 Q. You mention briefing the Chief Constable, for example.

14 Was that during this phase of your career or at the

15 later stage, when you became the Chief Superintendent

16 and then Head of IMG?

17 A. Well, at this stage I would not have been the automatic

18 choice to brief the Chief Constable, although it should

19 be borne in mind that during the early days that

20 I personally was in the Special Branch, there were many

21 empty desks as a result of the Chinook disaster. So

22 sometimes some of us would find ourselves doing things

23 which were perhaps a little above our pay grade, if I

24 can put it that way.

25 But, yes, depending on the urgency, if there was an

 

 

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1 urgent matter that the Chief Constable needed to be

2 briefed on, then there would be no point in me briefing

3 somebody above me and him briefing somebody above him

4 and somebody else then going downstairs.

5 Q. And presumably you were also in regular contact with

6 more senior officers within Special Branch?

7 A. Oh, yes.

8 Q. Were you also in contact with the regional heads, the

9 regional heads of Special Branch, for example?

10 A. Yes, we would meet regularly in various structured

11 meetings, the sort of meetings that are common to all

12 organisations. And I would meet them from time to time,

13 if they came in or I went out to their regions, to talk

14 about current issues.

15 Q. I would like to show you a couple of paragraphs in your

16 statement about liaison outside the RUC. They are 29

17 and 30 at RNI-846-301 (displayed).

18 Now, here you talk about your liaison with military

19 intelligence at 29 and with the Security Service at 30.

20 Do you see that?

21 A. Yes, I see that, sir.

22 Q. Now, as I read the statement, you are referring here to

23 a later stage; in other words, the stage at which you

24 are a chief superintendent and then the Head of

25 Intelligence Management Group. Can I just ask you about

 

 

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1 this slightly earlier phase, when you were

2 a superintendent?

3 Can I take it from, for example, the beginning of

4 paragraph 30 that even when you are at that slightly

5 lower level, you would have had regular contact of this

6 kind with officers within Army intelligence and the

7 Security Service?

8 A. Absolutely, yes.

9 Q. Now, can I ask you, did you have any form of regular

10 contact with officials at the NIO?

11 A. I think at this stage in my career my contact with the

12 NIO would have been through the Security Service

13 predominantly, and there might be meetings that I would

14 attend as a representative of the RUC, albeit as

15 a Special Branch officer, because of the matters that

16 were being discussed, where NIO representatives who were

17 not Security Service, mainstream civil servants, would

18 have been present. I can't think of many offhand.

19 There was a structure which other witnesses may have

20 discussed, which was the Security Policy Meeting. I'm

21 not sure whether the Inquiry has heard about that.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. And below Security Policy Meeting, to implement the

24 decisions of Security POolicy Meeting, there was another

25 forum which I think was called SCM, which would probably

 

 

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1 be something like Security Coordinating Meeting. There

2 are so many acronyms --

3 Q. Indeed.

4 A. -- that it is hard to remember exactly what all of them

5 meant. But I certainly would have been at the SCM from

6 time to time, and that would have been -- that would

7 have involved mainstream NIO civil servants as well as

8 Security Service people.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, just taking you back to something you

10 mentioned a little earlier, when you were talking about

11 the kinds of reports prepared by E3 at this stage, you

12 referred to the broader level assessments and made the

13 point that they would be intended for readership,

14 including readership outside the RUC?

15 A. Some of them would, yes.

16 Q. Indeed. And did that include Government readership; in

17 other words, in the sphere of Government, whether NIO or

18 elsewhere?

19 A. Yes, it would, and anything that was going to be read at

20 Government level or by that sort of body would be an

21 assessment which was agreed not just by my assessment

22 desks but by representatives at a parallel level of the

23 military and Security Service.

24 Q. So that you were all, as it were, joined in a single

25 report?

 

 

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1 A. Exactly.

2 Q. Yes. And at this stage then in E3 were there occasions

3 on which customers, if I can put it that way, this sort

4 of customer, in the political sphere, made clear that

5 they needed or wanted reporting on a particular issue of

6 political importance?

7 A. Well, that could be done on a single issue basis, but

8 that wasn't really the way that the system worked.

9 Q. Right.

10 A. I don't know whether the Inquiry wishes to know about

11 the mechanics of setting intelligence requirements, but

12 I could give a brief rehearsal of that.

13 Q. Please do, thank you.

14 A. Well, there is what is known to intelligence

15 professionals -- a thing called the intelligence cycle,

16 and in relation to the way in that the RUC and the

17 Security Service and military intelligence operated at

18 this period, it was based around an annual strategic

19 intelligence requirement setting process.

20 You have to bear in mind that this didn't just

21 start out of nothing; it wasn't a big bang, it was

22 an evolving process. So the strategic intelligence

23 requirement, which was a fairly lengthy document

24 in relation to Northern Ireland, was set on the

25 basis of discussions between the services who were

 

 

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1 going to produce theintelligence, and the customers,

2 if I can use that awful term, who were going to

3 require the intelligence. On a monthly basis, our

4 performance in relationto this strategic intelligence

5 requirement would beassessed at a meeting.

6 I don't know whether that has been discussed in this

7 Inquiry before.

8 Q. No.

9 A. But I allude to it in my statement. I'm not sure

10 whether that's one of the bits which has got black --

11 Q. No, I don't think it has. We will come to it in

12 a minute. Was it chaired by the DCI?

13 A. Yes, it was.

14 Q. Right.

15 A. Well, one of the ways in which a strategic intelligence

16 requirement, which was set annually, was kept up-to-date

17 was that our performance against the requirement and

18 anything new that ought to be put in to the requirement

19 was reviewed at the IRC, the intelligence review

20 committee. That met once a week, but it had a general

21 agenda and it had a once-a-month agenda; in other words,

22 meeting one would be the general agenda followed by one

23 specific specialism, and meeting two would be a general

24 agenda followed by a different topic. And one of the

25 topics that came up each month was a review of the

 

 

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1 strategic intelligence requirement.

2 But, of course, if the threat, the general threat --

3 I'm not talking about specific instances -- if the

4 general threat changed between meetings, then we would

5 change accordingly. But this system was really a way of

6 committing ourselves to a particular strategy and trying

7 to discover whether we were successful or not

8 successful.

9 Q. Can I ask you, you said at the outset of those remarks

10 that you were assessed -- I think you said monthly -- on

11 your performance, as it were, against the targets, if I

12 can put it that way?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. But you undertook the assessment?

15 A. Well, we did.

16 Q. You assessed yourselves?

17 A. Yes, we knew what we were trying to achieve because it

18 was written down, and we wrote an assessment of what

19 intelligence we had produced in response to those

20 requirements, whether the intelligence was any good,

21 whether we were deploying vast resources for minimal

22 results or minimal resources for vast results, and

23 trying to assess what we ought to be doing the following

24 month because the following month was unlikely to be

25 exactly the same as the previous month.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. I would like to take you to a much earlier passage

2 in your statement, please -- paragraph 3 at RNI-846-293

3 (displayed) -- because here, by way of introduction, you

4 explain that during your time in Special Branch there

5 was a lot of time -- and one assumes a lot of effort --

6 spent looking at systems in relation to intelligence

7 management. And you make the comment there, don't you,

8 that the experience of those working within the branch

9 was that outsiders could often usefully assess these

10 matters and no doubt suggest improvements?

11 A. Yes, that was certainly the culture of the organisation

12 when I went into it.

13 Q. Now, you then go on -- if we could go back to the full

14 page and paragraph 4 -- to talk about the Warner review.

15 And can I take it that he was such an individual; in

16 other words, somebody from outside the force who came in

17 and reviewed its structures, the way it was working?

18 A. That's correct. He was someone who was not a policeman

19 and was able to offer some insights and advice.

20 Q. Yes. I assume from your statement that you were in post

21 at the time of his undertaking this review?

22 A. Yes, I was.

23 Q. And it was his report, was it not, that led to the

24 establishment of the IMG?

25 A. That's correct, sir, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Of which, I think, you were the first head. Is that

2 correct?

3 A. That's correct.

4 Q. Yes. Can you remember now what it was that prompted

5 presumably the Chief Constable to ask -- I think it was

6 Sir Gerald Warner -- to undertake the report? Is that

7 right? Sir Gerald Warner?

8 A. I'm pretty sure he was a knight actually, yes.

9 Q. Can you remember what prompted the review?

10 A. I wasn't in the highest levels of policy-making within

11 the organisation at the time, so if there is a specific

12 reason, I am certainly not aware of it. I think it is

13 fair to say that all organisations which are -- which

14 exist in a changing environment and which have a vital

15 role to perform must review their performance and their

16 systems all the time, whether they think they are doing

17 well or not. And we certainly did that in our monthly

18 management meetings. And there were issues, as there

19 are with any organisation, about whether we are as

20 effective as we might be, and I think it was probably

21 a good thing that this review was instituted.

22 Q. Now, you say in paragraph 4, having exhibited the

23 report, which we will look at in a minute, that you do

24 recollect -- this is the fourth line -- that:

25 "... one of his suggestions was that it was time for

 

 

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1 Special Branch to change its structures to reflect the

2 current role of and the need for intelligence

3 assessment."

4 Now, first of all, can I ask you, is it right that

5 his review was undertaken in about 1996/1997?

6 A. From memory, I would certainly accept counsel's

7 suggestion, yes.

8 Q. Thank you very much. Well, we can see that you became

9 the head of the new management group on

10 8 September 1997. So it looks, doesn't it, as though it

11 must have taken place at some point shortly before that?

12 A. I think that's certainly right.

13 Q. Thank you. And going back to the passage I quoted to

14 you there from your statement, "time for Special Branch

15 to change its structures", did that in 1997 reflect the

16 political changes that were taking place by that stage

17 in Northern Ireland?

18 A. I think that the changes in the requirement from

19 Special Branch, which started almost overnight on

20 31 August 1994, were a significant contributory factor

21 to the decision of the Chief Constable to ask

22 Sir Gerald Warner to conduct this review.

23 As I said earlier, I'm not in a position to make

24 a direct link between that or anything else with the

25 Chief Constable's request, but that would be one of the

 

 

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1 things that I would assess was in the Chief Constable's

2 mind.

3 If I can elaborate on that just a little bit, I'm

4 sure the date of 31 August -- the significance is not

5 lost on the Inquiry -- that was the date of the first

6 Provisional IRA ceasefire, and what happened thereafter

7 in relation to the role of the Superintendent E3 was

8 that the intelligence requirement shifted significantly

9 and it continued to shift, and it shifted in two

10 directions, which you might think sound contradictory

11 but I hope they make sense.

12 The first is that the requirement for political

13 intelligence was increased because clearly the

14 Government was determined to know how strong the

15 ceasefire or cessation of military activity or whatever

16 was, [ redacted ]

17 [ redacted ]

18 was there a danger of a split -- traditional

19 concerns -- but also some pieces of intelligence in

20 which our colleagues in the Security Service might

21 previously not have been terribly interested took on

22 a new significance.

23 So if I say that there was an increase in interest

24 in political intelligence, that's right. But there was

25 certainly no diminution in interest in intelligence

 

 

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1 relating to what you might call military matters because

2 any indication of what some people might call military

3 activity by terrorist groups assumed new importance, if

4 in fact there was not supposed to be a campaign running.

5 Q. Thank you very much. Can I take you to a couple of

6 passages in the Warner Report to illustrate exactly the

7 points that you are making? That begins at RNI-548-175

8 (displayed). I very much hope you have been provided

9 with a paper copy of it because I think it will be a lot

10 easier for you and, indeed, everybody else to use the

11 paper copy. Do you have a copy of it?

12 A. Yes, I have, yes.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Now, I would like to take you

14 first to his terms of reference, which we see at

15 paragraph 4. This is RNI-548-175 on the screen, please

16 (displayed).

17 Those were the points he was asked to cover, and it

18 includes:

19 "The methods of operation; emphasis on securing,

20 analysing and acting on intelligence; methods and

21 effectiveness of liaison within the force and with other

22 bodies, eg Security Service, HQNI, ie the Army, and New

23 Scotland Yard; use of information technology and the

24 appropriateness and value of interchanges between RUC SB

25 and the Security Service."

 

 

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1 And the relevant passage, so far as what you have

2 just been telling the Tribunal is concerned, is

3 paragraph 3:

4 "The requirement for intelligence on

5 Northern Ireland will exist at a national level for the

6 foreseeable future. The senior officials to whom I have

7 spoken believe that even in a best case scenario, they

8 will require political intelligence from the Province

9 for at least the next three or four years. Current

10 difficulties in the peace process and the IRA's return

11 to a military campaign on the mainland suggest that the

12 scenario will be far from best case."

13 Then he explains in relation to his recommendations

14 which follow:

15 "I have tried to make recommendations which will

16 improve the production and flow of intelligence in

17 a period of uncertainty or in the event of a return to

18 terrorism in Northern Ireland and whose structures can

19 be adapted in the longer term should the trend towards

20 peace of the last two years reassert itself."

21 It looks as though, doesn't it, this report

22 addressed in part, at least, as one of the many things

23 it looked at, exactly the changing picture that you have

24 just outlined for us?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, so far as the specific point you have made about

2 political intelligence is concerned, if I could ask you

3 to look on to the next page, RNI-548-176 (displayed),

4 because there he, under the heading "Intelligence

5 gathering and analysis", deals first with the regional

6 structure of Special Branch. Do you see that at

7 paragraph 6?

8 A. Yes, I have that, sir, yes.

9 Q. Thank you very much. Then comes the nub of the point

10 that you have just been making to us, in paragraph 7:

11 "The RUC has recognised the need to turn a greater

12 part of its attention to the gathering of

13 political intelligence since the 1994 ceasefires

14 and has diverted some resources to this end."

15 There is a reference to a new central desk. Was

16 that, by the way, within E3, can I ask you?

17 A. Yes, it would have been, sir, yes.

18 Q. Thank you:

19 "Current agents have been tasked, new agents

20 recruited. Similarly, officers to whom I spoke were

21 aware of the need for sharper focus on the IRA's

22 activity on the mainland in the new environment."

23 In a sense that's a way of making the two points

24 which were in play that I think you were making to us

25 earlier, isn't it?

 

 

25

 


1 A. It would be, sir, yes. The other thing which wouldn't

2 possibly come through with what you have just quoted but

3 which I was trying to suggest earlier, was that -- if we

4 take a hypothetical example. If in 1988 you had some

5 intelligence that some rifles had been moved from one

6 house to another in Belfast, that would be of great

7 interest to Belfast Regional Special Branch and to the

8 officers and the soldiers on the ground, but not of

9 great interest, I don't think, in the corridors of power

10 in Stormont.

11 The same piece of intelligence in 1997 would have

12 had great significance for the political people.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Can I just take you on to the next

14 page, which is RNI-548-177, paragraph 8 (displayed),

15 because there he says:

16 "I've found that there has been some difficulty in

17 reconciling the different demands which the new

18 environment imposes. An agent handler whose focus is on

19 local tactical intelligence-gathering, needs guidance of

20 his skills and regular briefing to enable him also to

21 obtain the best [redacted] strategic focus

22 eg mainland intelligence, from his existing sources and

23 to assist him to target and recruit new agents in these

24 areas.

25 "I have formed the impression that systemic guidance

 

 

26

 


1 of this nature is lacking. A number of agent handlers

2 said they would appreciate such guidance."

3 So that was the difficulty or problem in adapting

4 that he identified. Was that something with which you,

5 as a senior officer within E Department, were aware at

6 this stage, 1997?

7 A. Yes, I think that the reason why Sir Gerry would have

8 put that paragraph in was perhaps not because people

9 like me were telling him that, but I'm sure that senior

10 RUC officers would have said something along those

11 lines, but that would be more -- or to a greater extent

12 that would be the perspective of the people that

13 I referred to earlier as customers. And this would be

14 because those who are advising political leaders who

15 have extraordinarily difficult and sensitive decisions

16 to make, which can have very long-term implications, are

17 naturally very keen to make those decisions on the basis

18 of the best possible intelligence. And it is quite

19 normal, if you get an intelligence brief and it doesn't

20 tell you all the answers, to go back to your

21 intelligence providers and say, "Look, how am I supposed

22 to conduct national policy on the basis of this?" But

23 the answers may not actually be available.

24 The machinery which we had in place had been

25 developed over a period of 25 years or more, to deal

 

 

27

 


1 with a particular problem, and the fact that we had got

2 to where we got by 1997 suggests, in my submission, that

3 it was reasonably effective. But when you try to change

4 the direction of a large organisation, there are some

5 things you can do quickly and some things you can't.

6 And I think that some of the people that Sir Gerry spoke

7 to felt that there were things that could be done more

8 quickly or changed more radically.

9 But intelligence-gathering, if it is to be

10 effective, which of course requires secrecy, means that

11 the operations are very often very long-term. They

12 require significant preparation, they require

13 significant resources, and the fruits, the products, of

14 those efforts may not filter through for months or, in

15 some cases, even years and maybe that's part of the

16 explanation for paragraph 8.

17 Q. Yes. Now, we can see, just moving slightly further on,

18 the recommendations that follow this on the same page,

19 please. Could we have paragraphs 10 and 11 enlarged?

20 They are in bold in the text although it is not very

21 clear on the screen. Here they are.

22 The first is that there should be Security Service

23 officers attached to Special Branch in two distinct

24 areas; first, you see in paragraph 11, at Headquarters,

25 where the units currently employed in the analysis and

 

 

28

 


1 dissemination of intelligence should be strengthened, he

2 says.

3 The greatest reinforcement should be the central

4 desk where the staff of two should be doubled by the

5 addition of two Security Service officers. Then there

6 should be further attachments, he recommends, to the

7 regions.

8 So in order to, as you suggest, meet the concerns or

9 requirements of the customers -- to use that word

10 again -- and to do so perhaps in accordance with their

11 preferred timescale, whether or not it was realistic,

12 these were the recommendations that there should be

13 officers from the Service introduced to work alongside

14 your Special Branch officers. Did that in fact take

15 place?

16 A. Yes, it did.

17 Q. Now, what I would like to do now is to ask you a few

18 more general questions, if I may, with that by way of

19 introduction, about the relationship between the RUC on

20 the one hand and the Security Service on the other.

21 In paragraph 2 of his report, the Warner Report --

22 if we can have RNI-548-175 on the screen, please

23 (displayed) -- in explaining how he has approached his

24 terms of reference, he says:

25 "I have done so ..."

 

 

29

 


1 In other words, interpret the terms of reference

2 broadly, et cetera:

3 "... because the position of the RUC as the lead

4 agency in the gathering, collation, dissemination and

5 exploitation of intelligence of Northern Ireland,

6 a position which I strongly believe should exist, brings

7 with it a responsibility to contribute fully to the

8 intelligence framework on a national scale and thus to

9 satisfy the intelligence requirements of customers,

10 national as well as regional level."

11 That is very much the point that you have been

12 making, isn't it, that once you move so firmly into the

13 political sphere then the customers are looking for

14 a contribution to what is in fact a national

15 intelligence picture?

16 A. Yes, yes, that's right.

17 Q. So far as the question of RUC primacy is concerned, we

18 know from all the material we have seen that that was

19 the formal position; in other words, that in

20 Northern Ireland, the RUC had the lead role.

21 Was it in fact the position in practice, as between

22 the RUC and the Security Service?

23 A. Yes, it was. It was a direct parallel of the tripartite

24 relationship between the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the

25 British Army and the Security Service at the higher

 

 

30

 


1 level, in which the Chief Constable had primacy since

2 the late 70s.

3 Within that, within the secret intelligence

4 community, there was a parallel in which the RUC held

5 the lead. In other words, if there were any question

6 about how an operation should be run or whether, indeed,

7 an operation should be run, the Head of Special Branch

8 would determine in the end the policy or the operation.

9 Q. But in this particular stage, politically, in

10 Northern Ireland, from the mid 1990s onwards, where, as

11 you have explained, one of the things that was

12 increasingly important was the provision of political

13 intelligence, that was very much the area of interest of

14 the Security Service, wasn't it, both within

15 Northern Ireland, of course, and in the UK as a whole?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. And the DCI in Northern Ireland, although not able to

18 direct other organisations or officers within them, was

19 in a position at least to influence them, was he not?

20 A. The Security Service in my experience is a collection of

21 very able people who are very good at influencing you

22 and getting their own way. And I say that not in

23 a critical sense, and it was their function to provide

24 certain intelligence to their own headquarters and to

25 the Secretary of State, and it was their function,

 

 

31

 


1 therefore, to ensure that the main

2 intelligence-gathering arm of the tripartite

3 intelligence community -- namely the RUC -- understood

4 what their requirements were as well as the general

5 requirements.

6 Q. And that was particular --

7 A. And they did that through meetings, as I said, the IRC,

8 which, as I think you may have noted in your question,

9 was chaired by the DCI and not by an RUC member. But in

10 my recollection, that did not produce any friction, and

11 certainly, when I was in a much more senior position

12 much later my career and I attended IRC and did not

13 chair it, I did not feel that was any problem or

14 difficulty.

15 Q. But it was the Security Service and in particular the

16 DCI who acted as the adviser on matters of this kind

17 direct to the Secretary of State, was it not?

18 A. That's correct, yes.

19 Q. And he, as we have heard in evidence already,

20 effectively had a measure of control over, for example,

21 funding in relation to sources, RUC sources, because he

22 advised the Permanent Undersecretary. That's correct,

23 isn't it?

24 A. Well, I don't know how much the Inquiry has heard about

25 the way in which sources were actually funded. I can --

 

 

32

 


1 Q. Please do?

2 A. -- discuss that within my limited knowledge, if it will

3 be helpful.

4 Q. Thank you.

5 A. The money for paying agents, sources, informants,

6 whatever technical word you want to use, in relation to

7 national security matters came through the Security

8 Service.

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. They were the purse holders. Having said that, in my

11 experience, the purse holders never tightened the purse

12 as a way of persuading me to do or not to do something

13 that I thought was right.

14 Q. Yes. And the DCI and his office, his staff, he was also

15 the gateway, wasn't he, in relation to all warranty

16 applications?

17 A. Absolutely, yes.

18 Q. And no doubt it was important and significant at this

19 time of political change that the Security Service --

20 and their remit, of course, extended to the whole of the

21 United Kingdom, and thus the point made in the report

22 about national requirements was very much within their

23 area of focus and expertise, was it not?

24 A. Yes, it was, and of course their experience in other

25 parts of the United Kingdom, the structural

 

 

33

 


1 relationships which they had with other police services,

2 was slightly different.

3 Q. Indeed. Now, just going back to the period of time we

4 started at, it looks from the Warner recommendations on

5 this aspect as though the solution he proposed in

6 relation to bringing about changes he thought were

7 necessary in order to get to grips with the political

8 intelligence side were by deploying not RUC resources

9 but Security Service resources. Is that correct?

10 A. I don't think that's the whole story. I think there

11 were two aspects: one of which was achievable and was

12 achieved and one of which was perhaps rather more

13 ambitious and wasn't.

14 The one which was achievable and was achieved was

15 the introduction of Security Service analytical

16 expertise into the assessment desks, where I think the

17 additional experience and the particular training and

18 preparation of the Security Service personnel -- it was

19 hoped that they would pick up things or would help to

20 write assessments which were more to the point or more

21 attuned to the requirements of the customer, and I think

22 that worked.

23 I think the other aspect -- which is not spoken

24 here, but -- I mean, let me put it into the form of an

25 imaginary situation. If under the old system you had

 

 

34

 


1 a terrorist cell operating and the quartermaster for

2 that cell had been recruited as an agent by one of the

3 intelligence organisations, I think the implication of

4 the Warner Report is, well, it would be a good idea if

5 we [ redacted ]

6 [ redacted ]

7 I'm putting it in very bold, simplistic terms.

8 But as I tried to suggest earlier, you can't

9 do that overnight.These are things which are

10 long-term propositions, and I think possibly it

11 was hoped that the ship might be able to alter

12 course rather more quickly than in fact it

13 did.

14 Q. Thank you very much for that answer. During this phase

15 of increasing concentration, if I can put it that way,

16 on the political side of intelligence, were there

17 overlaps, if I can put it that way, between the

18 interests of the Security Service within

19 Northern Ireland and the interests of the RUC in

20 gathering and producing intelligence on the political

21 front?

22 A. I do apologise, I'm not sure I quite followed the

23 question. There were -- there was an intelligence

24 requirement that was set -- and that was set by

25 agreement -- and the RUC and the Army participated in

 

 

35

 


1 the setting of the requirement with the Security

2 Service. So I don't know whether that makes the answer

3 no or whether, yes, we were different organisations,

4 therefore all organisations have their own agendas in

5 a way and no two organisations have an identical agenda,

6 and therefore the answer must be yes.

7 Q. It is a problem with the question. Can I put it this

8 way: As you were required to develop more of a interest

9 in political intelligence, did that not take you more

10 and more into what had been to that point Security

11 Service territory?

12 A. Yes, I think that's certainly a fair way of putting it.

13 Q. It is entirely my fault. Now, can we look to see what

14 the report has to tell us about relationships in this

15 area because he deals with it in paragraphs 18 and

16 following. I would like to show you two pages on the

17 screen. If you have got them in the hard copy, it's

18 RNI-548-179 and RNI-548-180, please (displayed).

19 Under the heading "... and relations with the

20 Security Service", he refers back to his suggested

21 deployment of Security Service personnel at regional

22 level:

23 "I have been told by both the Head of Special Branch

24 and by the Director General of the Security Service that

25 particularly in the field of agent running, it has been

 

 

36

 


1 very difficult to agree working practices and that

2 relations between the two services in this area are at

3 a low ebb. Factors which have long existed and have

4 hampered collaborative efforts still pertain and have

5 been exacerbated by the IRA's concentration on its main

6 line campaign. Mutual suspicion and distrust are rife

7 and I am aware of two promising agent recruitment

8 operations which have recently been abandoned simply

9 because each agency could not agree on the extent of the

10 other's participation in recruitment and subsequent

11 handling of the agent."

12 So, certainly, this informed outsider had come to

13 a view that cooperation was not all as it should have

14 been between the two agencies, the RUC and the Security

15 Service. Does that accord with your own recollection of

16 things at this stage in 1997?

17 A. I am aware in general terms of the matters to which

18 Sir Gerry refers in those paragraphs, but there are

19 people with much greater experience of those issues than

20 I have who could probably help the Inquiry more on that.

21 Q. But it sounds at the very least, doesn't it, as though

22 in areas where there was overlap, some of those who were

23 dealing with those matters, even if you weren't directly

24 dealing with them yourself, felt that there was a good

25 way to go to arrive at a level of effective cooperation?

 

 

37

 


1 A. Well, I think this is a reference to specific incidents

2 here. In my broader policing experience, including

3 overseas work and work in London on the CID side, and

4 from my -- well, from open source reporting, if you

5 like, this is an area in which the sort of jealousies

6 and the perhaps sometimes mistaken feelings of ownership

7 can inhibit what people sitting at desks like myself see

8 as the efficient working of the intelligence system,

9 yes.

10 Q. Because the comments are pretty general. He gives two

11 specific examples, but he says:

12 "Mutual suspicion and distrust are rife."

13 So that's painting a rather general and disquieting

14 picture, is it not?

15 A. Well, I don't know whether it would be helpful for me to

16 say what I think he is referring to in those.

17 Q. Please do.

18 A. Well, somebody else might come along and contradict me

19 later, but let me have a go. The mutual bit: The RUC

20 suspicion or distrust, or whatever Sir Gerry is

21 referring to, at the working level would have been that

22 we are the ones who have to go out in the middle of the

23 night doing all sorts of things and spending years and

24 years recruiting agents, and then some university

25 graduate is going to float in here and sit in on

 

 

38

 


1 a meeting and take all the intelligence away and get all

2 the plaudits.

3 Maybe I'm trivialising, but I'm trying to give you

4 a concept of what Sir Gerry may be saying.

5 Q. That was a view you were aware of?

6 A. Perhaps not quite in that language, but that sort of

7 thing. And on the other side, there is in all

8 intelligence organisations, I suspect, a belief that the

9 product which lands on the desk of the person like me,

10 who writes clinical reports, is somewhat thinner than it

11 was when the exchange took place between the handler and

12 the agent.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. Now, I will not pretend to this Inquiry that I have

15 expertise on every stage of that process because

16 I don't, and some of what I say, therefore, must be

17 treated as speculation and not as expert evidence, if

18 you like, but that might be the suspicion -- might be,

19 well, they have got all these agents out there doing all

20 this stuff and look at this product.

21 But the answer is that the product was the product

22 in response to the intelligence requirement, which had

23 changed a lot since the previous six or -- you know, six

24 or seven years previously.

25 Q. Yes, and in general what the Warner Report was trying to

 

 

39

 


1 do was to help the existing structures respond to those

2 changing requirements?

3 A. I think that was the purpose, yes.

4 MR PHILLIPS: Yes. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. I think a quarter of an hour

6 break, quarter to 12.

7 (11.30 am)

8 (Short break)

9 (12.50 pm)

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

11 MR PHILLIPS: A little earlier you were using an example to

12 illustrate changing intelligence requirements and focus,

13 and the example you used was in relation to a find of,

14 you said, rifles and the way it might have been viewed

15 in the 80s and then in 1997, at the time of the

16 Warner Report. And you explained helpfully why

17 paramilitary activity at a time when, in theory, there

18 were ceasefires, more positive developments, would have

19 political significance.

20 Can I just ask you about another aspect of all of

21 that? Presumably, as in the period 1997 to 1998, as the

22 political process moved still further forward, that

23 intelligence requirement also included focus on

24 dissident groupings. Would that be right?

25 A. Yes, very much so.

 

 

40

 


1 Q. So that when, for example, it was clear that there was

2 an IRA ceasefire and then the negotiations eventually

3 leading to the Good Friday Agreement, it presumably was

4 very important from the political angle to look at those

5 paramilitary groups that were holding out against the

6 process and presumably that was on both sides. Is that

7 right?

8 A. Oh, yes, yes. We were required to assess the strengths

9 of the ceasefires of all the recognised organisations

10 from whichever side of the political spectrum. And in

11 addition, very importantly, we were required to identify

12 any splits or separations which would create a new

13 threat, which would not accept the discipline of the

14 lead or primary organisation.

15 Q. Now, in relation to the question of Loyalists, the other

16 side, when we looked together at the opening paragraphs

17 of the Warner Report -- I would like to just remind you

18 of them. They are RNI-548-175, paragraph 3.

19 We see in that paragraph 3, RNI-548-175

20 (displayed) -- thank you -- specific reference there to

21 the IRA, and there are, I believe, subsequent

22 references, for example, in paragraph 6, to the IRA,

23 [redacted], et cetera, et cetera.

24 As far as we can see, there is not a great deal of

25 focus, at least, in the report on the Loyalist side.

 

 

41

 


1 But can I take it from what you've just said that

2 dissident groupings on that side were as much part of

3 your remit in the 1997/1998 period as Republican

4 groupings?

5 A. Yes, they certainly were. There was a continuing level

6 of violence on that side and there were significant

7 developments in terms of splits or realignments or

8 whatever terminology you want to use.

9 Q. Can I just take you to another passage to see how this

10 works out, at paragraph 10? This was the recommendation

11 we looked at earlier. It is at RNI-548-177 (displayed).

12 Do you remember the recommendation about the

13 attachment of two Security Service officers? And there

14 you see again, there is reference only, as far as one

15 can see, to IRA intentions, although in fairness I

16 should show you paragraph 11 on the screen where I think

17 the reference there is to E3A, but also E3B, the

18 Loyalist desk.

19 Now, in terms of the political customers, again to

20 use that expression, was their focus mainly on the

21 Republican side as opposed to the Loyalist side?

22 A. Well, no, I'm not sure you can quantify it quite like

23 that. There was interest in both sides, and so far as

24 the political development was concerned -- and here

25 I look for guidance from those with greater knowledge of

 

 

42

 


1 politics and political history that I have -- but I

2 think the greater effort was put into managing the

3 relationship with the Republican side at the political

4 level because I think that was where it was felt the

5 progress would come and that -- I don't want to get into

6 the politics of whether Loyalism was reactive or any of

7 that sort of stuff, but I think the feeling was that in

8 terms of the political philosophy of Loyalism, it was

9 perhaps not as mobile or active or changing or central

10 to the success or otherwise of Government policy in

11 relation to the peace process.

12 Q. But does it follow from that, therefore, that in this

13 period, although there was customer interest, if I can

14 put it that way, on both sides there was greater

15 interest on the Republican side?

16 A. I think that would be fair at the political level. At

17 the more nuts and bolts level, in which I was also

18 engaged as a policeman, then I would say the interest on

19 the Loyalist side was intense because there was a lot of

20 activity, both violence within and between groups, and

21 there was a lot of criminal activity that was clearly

22 linked to paramilitary organisations.

23 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can I just leave the report and look

24 with you briefly at some of the matters in terms of

25 meetings and liaison which you deal with in your

 

 

43

 


1 statement? Paragraph 7, RNI-846-294. Could we have

2 that on the screen please (displayed)? There, you talk

3 about an earlier period when you were at

4 Command Secretariat and your attendance there at the

5 PEC, another acronym, the Province Executive Committee.

6 And you also say that from time to time, you attended

7 those meetings in the later stages; in other words,

8 between 1994 and 1998.

9 If we look at the rest of this page, please,

10 RNI-846-294, and in particular at paragraph 9 where you

11 are still dealing with the PEC meetings, you say:

12 "In addition, the DCI would brief us on what was

13 coming up in the political world and he would be briefed

14 in turn, in terms of proposed covert operations."

15 So the DCI at these meetings then presented, as it

16 were, the political perspective on behalf, no doubt, of

17 his customers, if I can put it that way, in Whitehall

18 and in Stormont. Is that correct?

19 A. Yes, the idea was that the Deputy Chief Constable

20 Operations and the Commander Land Forces would have

21 a sort of insider's understanding, if you like, of some

22 of the political imperatives that were going ahead at

23 the time.

24 Q. Thank you. Who was responsible, can you remember, for

25 minuting those meetings?

 

 

44

 


1 A. In the first period which I mentioned, when I was in

2 Command Secretariat, as a superintendent there, the

3 answer is I was, together with the major from HQNI. We

4 were sort of a joint secretariat.

5 Q. Does it follow that a copy of the minutes would have

6 been kept in the files at Command Secretariat?

7 A. Not necessarily, because I would be pretty sure -- in

8 fact I can be quite sure that the minutes of that

9 meeting would be classified secret and that they

10 probably wouldn't be kept by Command Secretariat, which

11 was more to do with policy in relation to overt policing

12 matters and liaison with other agencies on matters which

13 could be discussed a little bit more openly.

14 Q. If they were secret, minutes of the kind you have just

15 described, where would they have been kept?

16 A. Well, I assume that they must have been kept in --

17 either in Special Branch or in the Chief Constable's

18 office. I do not know the answer to that question, I am

19 afraid.

20 Q. Thank you. Moving on, paragraph 10, the next page,

21 RNI-846-295 (displayed), here you deal with the IRC,

22 something you have already mentioned. Just to be

23 absolutely clear on this, you begin the paragraph by

24 saying:

25 "During the 1990s ..."

 

 

45

 


1 Did you attend the IRC in your earlier incarnation

2 as a superintendent in charge of the assessment desks?

3 A. Yes, I did.

4 Q. And did you continue to attend it in your promoted

5 incarnation --

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Thank you very much. And that meeting, as I think you

8 have said, was chaired by the DCI?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. And attended by representatives obviously from the

11 police, but also from the Army?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, as I understand it, and it perhaps fits

14 in with what you were saying about intelligence

15 requirements, it was this meeting and in this meeting

16 that the priority intelligence requirements were set.

17 Is that correct?

18 A. In one of the meetings, yes.

19 Q. Yes, but in the context of the IRC?

20 A. Yes, that's right. Although I suppose technically you

21 would say more they were approved because, as in many

22 organisations, the groundwork had been done, an

23 agreement reached at a sort of a middle level, if you

24 like, and the IRC would then satisfy itself that the

25 middle-ranking officers in each of the three

 

 

46

 


1 organisations had actually got it right. Perhaps meld

2 in some new information which was available since the

3 report had been drafted, but, yes, I mean, the short

4 answer is yes.

5 Q. As I understand it then, the matter would be produced to

6 the meeting in draft. Would it have been drafted by the

7 Assessments Group?

8 A. Well, a representative of the Assessments Group would

9 have drafted it with a representative of the two other

10 principal agencies.

11 Q. Thank you very much. Now, can I move on to the next

12 stage, after Warner, if I can put it that way, with the

13 setting up of the IMG and ask you this: we looked

14 together at the recommendations for attachment, in other

15 words attachment of Security Service officers to various

16 parts of Special Branch. Was there also, as a result of

17 Warner, a strengthening by additional RUC resources of

18 the desks which were subsumed within the IMG?

19 A. I am afraid I don't know the mathematical answer to

20 that.

21 Q. No. Now, can I ask you to look at the chart to make

22 sure we have got the position after Warner correct.

23 This is an even more complicated chart. Special Branch

24 post-Warner, please?

25 Again, this is based on input we have had from

 

 

47

 


1 various witnesses and various bits of material. And the

2 focus so far as you are concerned, has shifted, as you

3 see, to the right-hand side?

4 A. Yes, I see that.

5 Q. And we see you, now above the line, HIMG. Is that

6 correct?

7 A. Well, that's certainly me. Whether Deputy HSB will

8 agree that I should be above the line and next to him,

9 I'm not so sure.

10 Q. That was my next question.

11 A. The fact is, at this time, and for most of the time that

12 I was there, the Deputy HSB post would have been at

13 chief superintendent rank, as would the regional heads

14 of Special Branch and the Head of Intelligence. But you

15 might call the Deputy HSB a primus inter pares, if you

16 like, but it was recognised that the post holder there

17 sat above on the organisational structure even if his or

18 her rank and pay were the same as the others.

19 Q. Thank you. Now, as we saw, looking briefly at the

20 Warner Report and as you confirmed earlier, the creation

21 of the IMG was something that he had recommended and

22 that was established after receipt of his report.

23 He also expresses concern about the issue of whether

24 Headquarters -- in other words, where you were based,

25 what was E3 -- was in fact receiving all relevant

 

 

48

 


1 intelligence. There is an issue -- if you remember, he

2 talks about filtering.

3 Was that a problem, in your view, at the pre-Warner

4 stage?

5 A. I would not describe it as a problem. I would describe

6 it as something which happened. By that, I mean that

7 the intelligence process, in order to be effective in

8 this sort of matter, has to have a secret element

9 alongside the open source element and, indeed, most of

10 the structures of Special Branch that we have discussed

11 today were designed to preserve the element of secrecy.

12 That means that you have to have certain principles

13 to ensure secrecy, and one of the principles is

14 sometimes referred to as the need to know basis, and the

15 need to know basis for the handling of secret

16 intelligence is, in my view, probably the only

17 satisfactory basis.

18 But the problem with it is that not everybody agrees

19 on who needs to know, on what they need to know and at

20 what stage of the process they need to know it. So

21 there is, if you like, an avenue for debate even within

22 the world of intelligence professionals as to how to

23 manage intelligence.

24 Now, the filtering -- that was the word that counsel

25 used: the filtering. The word that will often be heard,

 

 

49

 


1 and you have probably heard it from this chair before,

2 is "sanitisation".

3 Q. Yes, indeed.

4 A. The purpose of wording an intelligence report which is

5 going to leave you and go to somebody else within the

6 intelligence community is to give the customer or the

7 next person in the chain the best possible picture with

8 the least possible risk of compromise of the source of

9 the intelligence, even what type of source the

10 intelligence may have come from. And there will be

11 professional judgments made in writing intelligence

12 reports which satisfy both those two criteria, and

13 sometimes the customer's judgment about what should go

14 in might be different from the supplier's judgment about

15 what should go in, and that's the filtering system.

16 Now, the way that the systems that I suspect that

17 some Security Service people and Sir Gerry may have been

18 used to would not have been like the RUC system because

19 the RUC system was unique within the UK as being locally

20 based. I don't mean based in Northern Ireland because

21 the West Yorkshire Special Branch is based in West

22 Yorkshire, but our system was that the actual officers

23 doing the footwork, if you like, were in individual

24 police stations. So they knew the local communities,

25 they were experts on those local communities and they

 

 

50

 


1 were the main source of intelligence for the entire

2 intelligence community.

3 The Army ran a big and good intelligence operation,

4 the Security Service ran a big and good intelligence

5 operation. I don't want to go into numbers, but I can

6 tell you that the vast majority of the two-legged

7 sources in Northern Ireland were being run by the Royal

8 Ulster Constabulary Special Branch.

9 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to look at the relevant

10 passage in Warner on this very point about filtering

11 between the local offices, if I can put it that way, the

12 local stations that you have just been mentioning and

13 the centre, where you were, at Headquarters. It is

14 RNI-548-179 in paragraph 16 (displayed), where he says:

15 "I have long been concerned at the number of

16 potential filters which operate between the point at

17 which intelligence is collected by RUC SB from its

18 agents and the product which reaches customers. Much

19 power is vested in local agent handlers and case

20 officers to decide what part of their agent debriefing

21 reaches the wider world. There is the justifiable

22 concern lest the identities of their agents and delicate

23 operational details be too widely disseminated. There

24 is good evidence that in the past this has led to with

25 holding of what might properly be seen as intelligence

 

 

51

 


1 rather than the delicate operational detail, and that

2 therefore useful intelligence has fallen between the

3 cracks of the system."

4 That was the concern that he was expressing, was

5 it not?

6 A. Yes, I haven't actually read this paragraph for

7 something in the order of 11 or 12 years now, I think,

8 possibly. But I certainly recognise what Sir Gerry is

9 getting at there.

10 Q. So albeit with laudable intentions, the need to know

11 principle, in his view as an expert outsider, created

12 the danger that useful intelligence was falling between

13 the cracks?

14 A. Yes, I understand entirely that point. I don't

15 actually -- I didn't at the time and I don't now share

16 his view about what was happening, but I fully

17 understand what he is saying and why he should think

18 that.

19 Q. But if we read on, he says:

20 "It will be a function of the new Intelligence

21 Management Group to offer guidance to source units to

22 assist them to distinguish better between intelligence

23 and operational detail."

24 In other words, in fact it fell to you, did it not,

25 in your new role as the first Head of the IMG, to offer

 

 

52

 


1 guidance from the centre to the local offices and to the

2 regions? Was that something that was put into effect,

3 that you can recall?

4 A. Not in the way that has just been suggested, and the

5 reason for that is that the controls have to be operated

6 at the local level.

7 I'll try and illustrate this, and I hope this

8 doesn't sound too sort of simplistic, but if the head of

9 IMG is looking at intelligence which comes from, shall

10 we say, a source in South Region, he will be looking at

11 it, or she will be looking at it, in a sanitised form.

12 And it is very unlikely that the Head of the IMG would

13 be in a position to say to the Regional Head of

14 Special Branch in South Region, "Look, this is nonsense,

15 would you please ask these handlers to write a longer

16 report because there is clearly something missing here."

17 You just wouldn't be in a position to know that that

18 was the case. The function, the effective management of

19 intelligence which goes up to the Headquarters has to be

20 a responsibility of the supervisors in the region, who

21 are experts at doing this. And I think -- we have got

22 to try and remember what was in the minds of the people

23 who were sending intelligence to RUC Headquarters, to

24 people like me, who had parachuted in from London and

25 landed behind a desk in Knock.

 

 

53

 


1 These were people who had spent years recruiting

2 agents, only to find them lying in a ditch with a bag

3 over their heads when they made a mistake in the way

4 that they ran the intelligence coming from these people.

5 So they were cautious and they had learned to be

6 cautious through hard experience. And without going

7 into details, I think all of us know from open source

8 reporting the fate of people involved in this business

9 when things went wrong.

10 Now, I'm not suggesting in any way at all that

11 Sir Gerry Warner was naive about those consequences.

12 What I'm saying is that the way that the RUC

13 Special Branch handlers and their supervisors and,

14 indeed, many of their customers felt about this was on

15 the basis of the reality of what was happening and had

16 been happening year in, year out, for 25 years at the

17 time we are talking about.

18 Q. Well, just keeping this paragraph in mind and what he

19 suggests should be the function of the new group under

20 your leadership, as it turned out, if it wasn't possible

21 or, in your view, appropriate to, as it were, direct

22 local officers in that way, was it possible at least to

23 alert or advise them of the at least potential dangers

24 of intelligence falling between the cracks, as he

25 suggests there?

 

 

54

 


1 A. Yes, and this happened, and it happened before Sir Gerry

2 or I arrived and it continued to happen during my time

3 in Special Branch. And having said that I would never

4 go and tell Regional Special Branch how to do their job,

5 what I did do, or what I did ask my officers to do on

6 occasions, was revert to the source of intelligence and

7 say, "Look, is there something more you can add to

8 this?" or "This piece of intelligence has provoked

9 a question in my mind".

10 Q. In other words, ask for further information?

11 A. Yes, absolutely. There was nothing wrong with that.

12 The old saying was the questions are not indiscreet; the

13 answers may be, but the questions are not indiscreet.

14 And that was a regular thing, and sometimes it would be

15 done by secure phone and sometimes it would be done by

16 face-to-face liaison. And officers from E3 and the IMG,

17 they would go to Mahon Road, they would go to

18 Ballykelly, to Castlereagh, and they would speak to

19 officers who are doing jobs that they have done ten

20 years before and discuss things with them face-to-face.

21 Q. So within the system before and after Warner, as I

22 understand it, it was possible for you and your

23 colleagues at the centre, as it were, to seek and obtain

24 further information if, on your analysis, on the basis

25 of what you knew, you thought more was required coming

 

 

55

 


1 up from the regions to you?

2 A. Absolutely. We weren't just quiescent customers soaking

3 up whatever was provided. We would ask questions.

4 Q. Not least, presumably, because, as you indicated right

5 at the outset of your evidence, you may not have had the

6 detailed knowledge and local focus, but you had the

7 benefit of a broader range of information across the

8 regions, which you could bring to bear on pieces of

9 intelligence coming in to you?

10 A. Yes, that's right.

11 Q. Thank you. In terms of the IMG and its functions, can

12 we look, please, at paragraph 27 of the report,

13 RNI-548-182 (displayed)?

14 Of course, here, under the heading "Intelligence

15 Production", is set out what, as far as Warner was

16 concerned, should be the functions of the new group.

17 There seem to be three aspects, and I will see whether

18 you agree with that: First, that it was to be the

19 central collection point for all intelligence from

20 within and, indeed, outside Northern Ireland, obviously

21 about Northern Ireland affairs; secondly, it was to play

22 a more significant role in the dissemination of

23 intelligence; and thirdly, it was to develop a capacity

24 to produce intelligence suitable in both form and

25 content for direct dissemination to customers at the

 

 

56

 


1 highest level.

2 I think all of that emerges from this section of the

3 report. Can I just focus first of all on the three

4 points I have made and ask you: does that in your view

5 reflect the principal functions of the group?

6 A. Yes, it does, although it might be right to add that I

7 would also recognise those as being functions of E3

8 prior to Sir Gerry's review.

9 Q. That was my next question: what changed, in fact?

10 A. I think in relation to those points, probably not very

11 much.

12 Q. No. So we have seen the changes in terms of

13 strengthening by attachment of Security Service

14 officers, but we saw on the chart, the post-Warner

15 chart, that the E3 desks, if I can put it that way,

16 continued to exist and presumably continued to do their

17 respective jobs. Is that correct?

18 A. Yes, in very much the same way. I think there was

19 a slight reorganisation of the actual area of

20 responsibility within the intelligence framework.

21 Q. Yes. But if we go back to the chart, the post-Warner

22 chart, please, Special Branch, to see whether there are

23 any other significant changes (displayed), you see IMG,

24 E3 (Superintendent) and then next to it, E9. That came

25 under the umbrella of the IMG. Is that correct?

 

 

57

 


1 A. Yes, that's right.

2 Q. And then the various now familiar subsets, as it were,

3 within E3. And we know from what you told us earlier

4 that there were others.

5 In terms of dissemination -- that was one of the

6 functions highlighted in the report -- what was the

7 IMG's role in terms of dissemination outside the RUC?

8 A. Well, it would be similar in principle to the E3 role,

9 and that is that any organisation which is going to

10 communicate intelligence to another must do it on the

11 basis that there is, if you like, a single point of

12 contact, so that one organisation knows what it has said

13 to another organisation. And that doesn't just apply to

14 secret intelligence; it applies to many other aspects of

15 organisational life, and that would be the role that E3

16 and IMG employed in relation to the long-term

17 intelligence operations and intelligence assessments.

18 Q. But did the identity of the customers, if I can put it

19 that way, to whom IMG disseminated intelligence change

20 with the post-Warner changes?

21 A. Well, I'm prepared to be corrected on this, but I would

22 say the short answer is no.

23 Q. And then the specific point, you remember I drew to your

24 attention, was direct dissemination to customers at the

25 highest level. And the way it was put was -- if you

 

 

58

 


1 remember -- develop a capacity to produce intelligence

2 suitable in both form and content for direct

3 dissemination to customers at the highest level. That

4 rather suggests that this was a new development. Was

5 it, in your view?

6 A. In my view, no, it wasn't.

7 Q. No.

8 A. And I'll give you an example of that. One of the duties

9 which I undertook from my first appointment in 1994 was

10 to attend a meeting in Whitehall. Now, I don't know

11 whether the Inquiry needs to know yet another set of

12 acronyms and names of meetings, but suffice it to say

13 that the meeting in Whitehall was by people at my sort

14 of level within a wide variety of intelligence

15 organisations, and the function of the meeting was to

16 introduce an intelligence assessment for use by the JIC,

17 the Joint Intelligence Committee.

18 Now, I do not know of a very much higher customer

19 for intelligence than the Joint Intelligence Committee,

20 and I, as a Special Branch representative of the RUC,

21 was central to the production of that brief. I have to

22 say that was always the brief on Northern Ireland

23 matters. I didn't go there to tell them what was

24 happening in Iraq or anything like that, but when they

25 held their meetings on Northern Ireland, then there

 

 

59

 


1 would be an RUC representative involved in drafting the

2 paper and there would be an RUC Special Branch

3 representative in the meeting in Whitehall to ensure

4 that the latest information was included and that the

5 perspective held in Belfast was understood in Whitehall.

6 Q. So again, in this specific area raised by the

7 Warner Report, direct dissemination to customers at the

8 highest level, you were not aware of any significant

9 change as a result of the Warner Report?

10 A. No. I don't want to sound critical of Sir Gerry, but my

11 view is that the Warner Report offered some useful

12 insights and that some useful changes in practice took

13 place as a result of this. But this was not

14 a revolution. It was part of an evolution in which we

15 had had a number of external reviews before and we had

16 moved along with the advice provided by them as well.

17 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you to look at a final

18 passage in the report, RNI-548-186 (displayed), which

19 deals with the relationship between Special Branch and

20 the rest of the RUC, and CID in particular. This is

21 paragraph 39, and it begins with the comment:

22 "There is a certain ambivalence in the high regard

23 in which the rest of the RUC holds the Special Branch

24 ..."

25 Et cetera. And then it refers, five lines down in

 

 

60

 


1 another memorable phrase, to the CID:

2 "... awakening as from a long sleep."

3 During your time in Special Branch, were you aware

4 of the sorts of tensions which are referred to there

5 between the two parts of the organisation, namely CID

6 and Special Branch?

7 A. It is difficult for me to give a general answer, so

8 I have to rely on the personal experience. And the

9 personal experience is difficult because it is not right

10 to say that this is purely an RUC thing.

11 There are certain jokes which are common to the

12 police culture, and when I joined the

13 Metropolitan Police in 1975, there were jokes with about

14 the Special Branch, about their assessments as to how

15 many people would turn up at a demonstration. If you

16 passed a tramp in the street, it was common to nod to

17 your colleague and say, "Special Branch" and all the

18 rest of it. But these are the normal parts of the

19 police culture and part of that is to believe that

20 Special Branch don't tell you everything that they know.

21 Of course, Special Branch don't tell you everything

22 that they know because if they did, they wouldn't be

23 able to do their job, and we go back then to the need to

24 know basis.

25 Shortly before I joined the Royal Ulster

 

 

61

 


1 Constabulary, there was a disgraceful television

2 programme broadcast by, I think, Granada, which implied

3 that Special Branch were some kind of secret society,

4 and the expression "force within a force" was used. And

5 it was justified on the basis that some foolish member

6 of the organisation had either used or agreed with that

7 expression in an interview and other people picked

8 it up.

9 My experience on arriving in the RUC was that this

10 was very far from the case. The first police station

11 I served in had an office in which there were

12 Special Branch officers and they came to me at regular

13 intervals to tell me what they thought I needed to know

14 about what was going on. And if they didn't tell me

15 what I thought I needed to know, I went to their office

16 and asked them. And I didn't always get answers that

17 were as full as I wanted, but that was the way the

18 system worked.

19 I think there was frustration in the CID and there

20 is still frustration amongst people who believe that

21 some enquiries could have been brought to a successful

22 conclusion in terms of either arrests or prosecutions,

23 had the Special Branch been prepared to compromise some

24 of their sources or operations, cash them in, if you

25 like, in order to get a particular result.

 

 

62

 


1 But again, I think we ought really to look back at

2 what was the overall Government policy, the overall

3 security policy, the overall policy of the

4 Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in

5 cooperation with the General Officer Commanding and with

6 the DCI. The policy was first and foremost to save

7 lives.

8 Now, if within all the operations that were going

9 on, the opportunity to prosecute successfully arose and

10 you could use intelligence to assist in that, of course

11 it was done. But the primary consideration at a time

12 when over 100 people a year were dying simply due to the

13 security situation -- never mind heart disease or road

14 traffic accidents, things that we as a nation should

15 have been trying to prevent, then that's what we would

16 do. That was our focus. That took precedence over

17 everything else --

18 Sometimes on the mainland you would get the

19 impression that not a lot was going on in

20 Northern Ireland. When I arrived here and took up my

21 duties and started reading overnight bulletins, the ones

22 that were available to a uniformed chief inspector who

23 didn't have access to secret material, then you realised

24 just how busy this place really was, just how many

25 operations were being launched every day by the

 

 

63

 


1 Provisional IRA, the Irish National Liberation Army, the

2 Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force.

3 All of them, regularly at their work, day in, day out.

4 And in order to prevent them killing more people than

5 they did, you needed a big intelligence operation, and

6 that's what we had. And there was a no way at the very

7 highest level in this country that anyone wanted to

8 compromise that operation for a short-term successful

9 prosecution.

10 Now, as an ex-CID officer, I can understand why that

11 should produce frustrations, but as I look back now,

12 I don't feel those frustrations.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Now, so far as your role as the

14 Head of the IMG was concerned, you describe yourself in

15 your statement at paragraph 18 -- that's RNI-846-297

16 (displayed) -- as the man with the big picture in terms

17 of intelligence.

18 Now, that suggests that you, at your level -- by

19 this stage, chief superintendent level -- were not

20 involved in the detail, as it were, but were standing

21 back and taking a broad view. Is that what you are

22 getting at?

23 A. Yes. I must apologise for a number of times the words

24 "big picture" appear in this statement.

25 Q. Indeed.

 

 

64

 


1 A. But it is right. And in fact that was the briefing I

2 was given when I first went into a position in 1994.

3 Q. Yes. You say earlier in your statement at paragraph 12

4 that you were responsible for checking certain reports

5 that were prepared on intelligence obtained by

6 E Department, and that's RNI-846-295 (displayed).

7 Presumably, that meant effectively checking the work

8 that was being done by the more junior officers at what

9 were the E3 desks. Is that correct?

10 A. Yes, depending on the type and level of the document and

11 the nature of the customer, and I might be personally

12 involved in running my eye over it and saying, "Yes, it

13 is right" and "Put more in about this and less in about

14 that".

15 Q. So far as briefings are concerned, you mention various

16 different types of briefings that you would have given.

17 Who were the individuals that you regularly briefed

18 in your role as Head of IMG?

19 A. Most frequently the Head or the Deputy Head of

20 Special Branch.

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. And very often it would be one or the other. It would

23 be slightly unusual for both to be present for

24 a prolonged spell.

25 Q. What of individuals outside the RUC? Did you have

 

 

65

 


1 regular meetings or occasions on which you personally

2 briefed individuals in other agencies?

3 A. There were the formal meeting structures, for

4 example,the IRC, but there would also be occasions

5 when I would go and speak to either the DCI or

6 the Head of the Assessments Group or when

7 I would speak to colleagues in HQNI.

8 Q. Now, if we look at paragraph 11 of your statement, just

9 above this on the same page, we see you had regular

10 meetings with your heads of section who would give you

11 reports, and presumably you also had at least the

12 ability, did you, to access the various computer systems

13 that we touched on earlier? Is that correct? The Prism

14 and the CAISTER, I think you said?

15 A. Yes, I would have been authorised, had I wished and had

16 I got myself trained -- I took the view -- with Prism

17 certainly there would only have been limited things that

18 I could have seen on Prism because my understanding of

19 Prism is that it was predominantly in relation to

20 operational intelligence; that's to say intelligence

21 that was still capable of operational exploitation and,

22 therefore, would not necessarily have been shared with

23 me or certainly not in any detail.

24 So far as CAISTER is concerned, that was, if you

25 like, the more slow-time intelligence. In a way, a sort

 

 

66

 


1 of an IT representation of Registry, as was suggested

2 earlier.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. There, I preferred to see paper copies of pieces of

5 intelligence that were thought of sufficient

6 significance to warrant my attention. I had officers

7 working for me who would sit down at their desks each

8 morning and go through everything on CAISTER, but I did

9 not have time to do that. I relied on them to draw to

10 my attention what they thought I needed to know.

11 Q. So most of the time then you were seeing higher level,

12 if I can put it that way -- you use, I think, the

13 expression "sanitised" -- versions of material perhaps

14 generated originally in the regions, perhaps produced by

15 your staff; you weren't seeing operational or raw

16 intelligence, if I can put it that way?

17 A. With the exception of one particular type of raw

18 intelligence, I virtually never saw raw intelligence.

19 Q. What was that type, please?

20 A. Well, I very occasionally saw the debriefing notes of

21 intelligence in relation to one source, and I sometimes

22 asked for and was shown transcripts of intercept or

23 eavesdropping material.

24 Q. Yes. But that would be, as it were, unusual and by

25 special request. Such material didn't routinely come

 

 

67

 


1 to you?

2 A. It was usually because I had seen some sanitised

3 intelligence and felt that in order to do my job

4 effectively, I really needed to know a bit more than I

5 had. Occasionally, it was because one of my officers

6 came into the room and said, "You need to see this".

7 Q. Yes. Now, turning to the question of what IMG produced

8 and the types of report in particular on the screen, you

9 tell us in paragraph 12 that the Chief Constable was

10 provided with a daily intelligence report which was

11 classified as secret.

12 Now, in relation to the contents of that document,

13 was it at a high level or did it contain specific

14 detail, or did it vary?

15 A. I would say it varied. It was at a high level in the

16 sense that the inspector who prepared it tried to gather

17 items together which would give the Chief Constable the

18 best possible overall view of the reality of what was

19 going on without miring him in excessive detail.

20 So the idea was that it would be perhaps six or

21 seven paragraphs covering about one and a half sides of

22 A4 paper. It was classified secret, so that when I was

23 in Command Secretariat, the Chief Constable very

24 carefully shredded the thing before I went in to his

25 office.

 

 

68

 


1 When I took over the production of it, I found that

2 it was actually slightly more anodyne and less exciting

3 than I once had imagined it would be, but it was

4 nevertheless a secret document and quite rightly so.

5 Q. Yes. And you say later in this paragraph that it --

6 this intelligence report -- was passed to you for

7 approval and onwards transmission. How did that, as it

8 were, physically take place, the transmission to the

9 Chief Constable, please?

10 A. The Detective Inspector came into my office, sat down

11 with me, discussed the report. I would say nine times

12 out of ten I would approve it. Maybe on the odd

13 occasion I would say, "Well, we know this is happening

14 and you haven't included it. Is there a reason for

15 that?" And the reason might be, "I didn't think of it"

16 and then it would be changed. But usually it would be

17 agreed. It would then be double-enveloped and taken

18 downstairs by hand.

19 Q. So it was delivered to him. You didn't yourself brief

20 him on its contents?

21 A. Only if he called me down to explain something.

22 Q. Could we move on to that eventuality? In paragraph 23

23 at RNI-846-299 (displayed), where you are talking about

24 the level of intelligence and, indeed, whether you

25 needed further information, do you see in the first

 

 

69

 


1 sentence there, you -- in that context -- make the

2 comment:

3 "I only did this ..."

4 In other words, asking for more from the source in

5 the hypothetical example you give:

6 "... as I needed to understand the big picture

7 better before I briefed the Chief Constable."

8 Now, was that something you did regularly?

9 A. Yes. Regularly, I suppose, is an inexact word.

10 Q. Indeed. Once a week, once a month?

11 A. Probably more than once a month. Maybe some months not

12 at all.

13 Q. And face-to-face presumably?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And was that something which was in each case called for

16 by him; in other words, you would receive a message that

17 he required to see you to brief him on a matter?

18 A. Usually, yes, and the personality of the Chief Constable

19 would also be a factor because for part of the time we

20 are talking about, we had a Chief Constable who had some

21 personal experience of the Special Branch and who felt

22 less need to ask the questions. And sometimes, of

23 course, either of the two chief constables that I was

24 serving would not ask me; they would ask the Head of

25 Special Branch. And the reason for that would be that

 

 

70

 


1 where I was running assessments and therefore didn't

2 have up to the minute operational intelligence because I

3 didn't need to know that, the Head of Special Branch

4 would have that.

5 Q. So that, as it were, was the negative side of it. What

6 were the circumstances, therefore, that led the

7 Chief Constable to call for your briefing, rather than

8 the briefing from the Head of Special Branch?

9 A. Well, it might be to set something in context. It might

10 be to do what I sometimes did; it might be to say,

11 "Well, I would like to know a bit more about this".

12 Q. In other words, perhaps a situation where he had

13 received the daily briefing and wanted to know more and

14 thought that you were the person to get it for him?

15 A. That might happen, yes.

16 Q. Moving on to the next type of report or assessment you

17 mention, paragraph 13, RNI-846-295 (displayed), you say:

18 "If we were producing an intelligence assessment

19 which would have a high status, such as a report which

20 was being prepared for the Anglo-Irish Department ..."

21 Then you continue:

22 "This would generally be produced at inspector level

23 and by representatives in the Army at a similar level."

24 What do you mean by "high status" in this context,

25 please?

 

 

71

 


1 A. Well, it is a document which is going to exist and be

2 circulated in political circles and upon which people

3 might be making or basing at least in part decisions

4 about significant -- policy at a significantly high

5 level.

6 Q. So the status is determined by the nature and identity

7 of the customer?

8 A. Well, in this -- in this paragraph, I think that's what

9 I'm trying to say, yes. This is really about high level

10 policy, if you like.

11 Q. Yes. In referring to the Anglo-Irish Department there,

12 do you mean the UK side of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat?

13 A. Yes. That's just an example. When there was a meeting

14 of the Secretariat, the Chief Constable would want

15 briefs from just about everybody in the world before he

16 went along with his enormous folder, and one of the

17 places from which he would want a brief was the

18 Special Branch.

19 Q. So the report in this case then is being prepared not

20 for the Anglo-Irish Secretariat itself, but for the

21 Chief Constable so that he can present it?

22 A. Yes, absolutely.

23 Q. I understand. Thank you. And again, with reporting of

24 this kind, or assessments, as you call it, of this kind,

25 would it be at the higher, broader level that you were

 

 

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1 mentioning earlier?

2 A. Well, things like the Anglo-Irish meeting, where of

3 course the Chief Constable would be briefed, or a

4 security policy meeting where the Secretary of State

5 would be briefed. And these were what I would call the

6 high level policy meetings, yes.

7 Q. At paragraph 14, you go on to a fourth type of report,

8 which is -- I'm hesitating to pronounce it, but

9 I-M-A-G-I-R. How do you pronounce that?

10 A. They are referred to as IMAGIRs.

11 Q. The acronym suggests that reports of this kind had not

12 existed before the creation of the IMG. Is that

13 correct?

14 A. The acronym hadn't existed, but in principle the type of

15 report had existed and possibly the method of

16 dissemination and the method of monitoring

17 dissemination --

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. -- was changed and improved with the introduction of the

20 new title. And also, I think, this is a change which

21 was brought about not just because of what Sir Gerry

22 Warner recommended; it was also in relation to the

23 changing technology, so that Sir Gerry was very aware of

24 the potential of the new technology when he was making

25 his recommendations.

 

 

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1 Q. We have not looked at that part of his report, but it is

2 right, isn't it, that he made recommendations about

3 using computer technology?

4 A. That's right.

5 Q. Can we look at RNI-548-010 (displayed)? This, from

6 a date, as you see, in January 1998, is an IMAGIR, this

7 one about the GRRC. And the distribution list looks as

8 though the list has standard boxes of which obviously

9 most are internal, within the RUC, presumably. Is that

10 correct?

11 A. Yes, I see the list.

12 Q. And then the external ones, outside organisations, and

13 in this case only a few of the boxes are being ticked,

14 if I can put it that way.

15 Can I ask you, in relation to reports of this kind,

16 were they produced in response to demands or were they

17 documents that you, within IMG, decided to produce and

18 issued as a result of decisions which you made?

19 A. The latter.

20 Q. The latter.

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Thank you. And in terms of the external customers then,

23 did they include the Army, the Security Service, any

24 other external customers?

25 A. Those are the two which occur to me at the moment.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Thank you. And then in paragraph 17, in dealing

2 with the role of the IMG, you say -- RNI-846-297

3 (displayed):

4 "IMG was responsible for producing an overall

5 assessment on intelligence matters Province-wide. The

6 Secretary of State would refer to this when making key

7 decisions."

8 Et cetera. Now, is that a reference to another type

9 of assessment; in other words, in addition to those we

10 have already looked at?

11 A. Well, the monthly intelligence report, which was

12 produced for consumption by the intelligence review

13 committee on one of the four meetings, was used as

14 a document, as I understand -- and others would be

15 better placed to give this evidence, but it was used as

16 a document, as I understand, for the DCI to brief the

17 Secretary of State.

18 Q. So in this example, you were, as it were, at one remove;

19 it went to the DCI for him to use in briefing the

20 Secretary of State?

21 A. It was one of the vehicles which he used. He probably

22 had rather more regular meetings with the Secretary of

23 State than is implied in my answer, but that was

24 certainly one of the vehicles.

25 Q. Can we look at this point in paragraph 24 of your

 

 

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1 statement, RNI-846-299 (displayed), because here you

2 talk about monthly intelligence assessments. And you

3 say later on in the paragraph:

4 "It ..."

5 The assessment:

6 "... would enable the DCI to answer any questions

7 posed by the Secretary of State for security."

8 Is that the type of report or assessment that you

9 had in mind?

10 A. Yes, that's certainly one of them. I'm not quite

11 sure -- and I did sign this statement, but "the

12 Secretary of State for Security" looks like a strange

13 expression to me. Maybe it should be "the Secretary of

14 State about Security" or something like that.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Or, indeed, the Minister for Security?

16 A. I'm grateful. There was at this period at ministerial

17 level, a Crown minister whose title was Minister for

18 Security and that postholder would be kept in the loop

19 as well.

20 MR PHILLIPS: Yes. And were these assessments the product

21 of work by the three agencies?

22 A. Yes, they were.

23 Q. Thank you. Now, I would like to ask you, please, about

24 the comments you make in your statement in relation to

25 Rosemary Nelson. You begin to deal with this in

 

 

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1 paragraph 33 at RNI 846-302 (displayed), and you do so

2 by reference to a number of intelligence reports. The

3 first you mention in that paragraph is dated

4 in April 1996, and you say:

5 "I can say with certainty that at some time I became

6 aware of the gist of what this report says."

7 Namely, that:

8 "She was using her position as a solicitor to gather

9 information for PIRA in Lurgan."

10 A. Yes, I see that.

11 Q. And then the content is certainly not a surprise to you,

12 you say. Do you think it is possible that you had seen

13 still earlier reporting along these lines in relation to

14 Rosemary Nelson?

15 A. Well, I think the context of that sentence in my

16 statement is that the content was certainly not

17 a surprise to me when I was being interviewed by the

18 investigators for this Inquiry.

19 Q. I understand.

20 A. Rather than when I first saw, if indeed I saw, that

21 IMAGIR.

22 Q. Yes. Can I ask you to look at a slightly earlier

23 report? RNI-541-001 (displayed), and the second page of

24 it, the meat of it, if I can put it that way,

25 RNI-541-002 (displayed). There is substantial

 

 

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1 redaction as you see:

2 "A leading PIRA member and Rosemary Nelson,

3 solicitor, are attempting to construct a false alibi for

4 Collie Duffy who is at present remanded in custody for

5 the murder of John Lyness ... the trial is due for

6 hearing in January."

7 This, as you can see top right, is December 1994.

8 Do you think it likely that you would have, if not seen

9 this document, been aware of intelligence along these

10 lines as early as this point, end of 1994?

11 A. Yes, I think it is likely either that this piece of

12 paper would have been brought to my attention by one of

13 the desk officers --

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. -- or that it would have been briefed in to a meeting

16 which I held once a week with my desk officers, or both.

17 Q. And does it follow from that that your desk officers

18 would have been aware that this was the sort of

19 intelligence in which you would have had an interest?

20 A. Yes, that sort of thing would be considered fairly

21 significant.

22 Q. And can you explain why that was?

23 A. Well, certainly the individual referred to as

24 Collie Duffy would have been regarded as a significant

25 and dangerous individual and one who needed close

 

 

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1 attention, and one who posed a threat to the lives of

2 men and women in Northern Ireland.

3 Q. So that the interest, you think, at this stage, at any

4 rate, would have been in relation to him rather than in

5 relation to the other person referred to, certainly in

6 the unredacted passage, namely Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. Well, I think the principal interest would certainly

8 have been Mr Duffy.

9 Q. Indeed.

10 A. Although it is a normal thing in intelligence matters

11 that anybody who comes into contact with a principal of

12 interest by their contact becomes a matter of interest

13 until such time as their connection is explained or

14 legitimates further investigation.

15 So yes, Mrs Nelson's role in this, as suggested by

16 the intelligence, would make her a matter of interest.

17 Q. Yes. Now, if we just look at the later report, the one

18 you did refer to in your statement, April 1996 at

19 RNI-548-070 (displayed), please. And we can see again

20 this is a SIR, Secret Intelligence Report, under the

21 heading "PIRA general activity".

22 On the next page, RNI-548-071, again the substance

23 is to be found, please (displayed)? Thank you very

24 much:

25 "Rosemary Nelson, Lurgan, is using her position as

 

 

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1 solicitor to gather information for PIRA in Lurgan.

2 This includes details of RUC members who she comes into

3 contact with. Nelson is known to represent a number of

4 Republican activists in the Lurgan area."

5 It is a short report and I hope, therefore, that it

6 will remain in your mind when I take you to your

7 statement again, RNI-846-302 (displayed), because it

8 appears from the comments that you make there that you

9 took a serious view of what this intelligence reported

10 about Rosemary Nelson, believing that it disclosed the

11 commission by her of an offence under the emergency

12 legislation. Is that correct?

13 A. Yes, that's right.

14 Q. What offence was that, please?

15 A. Well, if a solicitor were engaged in either bringing or

16 taking away information improperly from somebody who is

17 in custody or, indeed, were involved in the construction

18 of false alibis, or were trying to obtain details of

19 information about RUC officers, there is, for example --

20 or there was at the time, an offence under the emergency

21 legislation about the gathering and possessing of

22 information likely to be of use to terrorists. And the

23 position that we took, which was supported by the

24 courts, was that people who gathered information about

25 particular details of RUC officers would come under that

 

 

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1 umbrella.

2 Q. Thank you. Now, if we have on the right-hand side of

3 the screen, please, the actual meat of the report at

4 RNI-548-071 (displayed), can I ask you, you say in your

5 statement:

6 "This was a personal view that I held at the time."

7 As far as you can, are you able to help us with

8 this: do you think that view that you held at the time

9 was formed on the basis of this single piece of

10 reporting or on the basis of previous intelligence

11 together with this?

12 A. It is very difficult at this stage to say exactly what

13 I knew and when I knew it and what I believed and when

14 I believed it.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. But I think that there was more than one piece of

17 intelligence that crossed my desk. I may also have been

18 influenced by the comments or advice that I received

19 from officers under my command who were experienced in

20 South Region matters; that is to say the part of

21 Northern Ireland which was covered by the activities of

22 Mr Duffy and Mrs Nelson.

23 Q. So you think it likely, do you, based on that answer,

24 that in addition to the written reporting, there would

25 have been advice from the region as to what they

 

 

81

 


1 believed Rosemary Nelson's activities were in relation

2 to PIRA?

3 A. Yes, I do. Now, I cannot recall how that advice would

4 have got through to me in the precise form, but looking

5 at the two documents which I have just been shown, you

6 can see that they are very short and to the point, but

7 redacted

8 redacted

9 redacted

10 redacted ]. And that

11 therefore what we are seeing is a summary which is

12 suitable for us to know in order to guide our

13 policy-making and decision-making and to keep us wary.

14 But it doesn't compromise the source by which the South

15 Region Special Branch obtained this intelligence.

16 Q. Now, other than receiving a briefing in, as you say, you

17 can't remember in which form that would be, about the

18 background to these reports, what do you think, based on

19 your experience, you would have done to satisfy yourself

20 in addition, as it were, as to the reliability of the

21 reporting that was coming through to you?

22 A. There is a means of judging the reliability of the

23 reporting in the estimation of the reporting officer

24 from the intelligence report itself.

25 Q. And you were relying in this case, at your position in

 

 

82

 


1 HQ, on that assessment by the reporting officer?

2 A. I would certainly have been relying in part on that.

3 I may also have asked officers who were with me, "Well,

4 what about this? What do you know about that? Oh, yes,

5 that's right", or, "Oh, no, that's wrong".

6 Q. Now, as I indicated earlier, in the last few lines of

7 the paragraph on the left-hand side, you describe the

8 view you held as to her commission of an offence as

9 a personal view. Presumably you would say it was a view

10 based on your experience as police officer and, indeed,

11 working specifically within Special Branch by this

12 stage, 1996, for a number of years. Is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And are you able to assist us with this: was it a view

15 that you discussed with colleagues in IMG and which you

16 found to be shared by them?

17 A. From memory, yes.

18 MR PHILLIPS: Yes. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

20 MR PHILLIPS: Just to assist with the timing, I think we

21 probably have perhaps half an hour or slightly longer

22 to go.

23 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Right. We will adjourn until

24 2 o'clock.

25 (1.00 pm)

 

 

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1 (The short adjournment)

2 (2.00 pm)

3 MR PHILLIPS: Can we pick up where we left off and look at

4 paragraph 33 statement at RNI-846-302 (displayed)? You

5 remember just before lunch we were discussing the view

6 you describe there as being your personal view and you

7 said that you thought you had discussed it with

8 colleagues in the IMG and found that they agreed

9 with it.

10 Now, you also said earlier that you think in

11 addition to the reporting you would have had some form

12 of briefing, you weren't sure in what form, from the

13 region in relation to the intelligence.

14 Can I ask you this, please: Do you think it likely

15 that you would have discussed the view that you express

16 in paragraph 33 with the Regional Head of Special Branch

17 at the time?

18 A. No, I don't. I think it is more likely that the

19 information or advice that I had had at that time, which

20 did not come in the form of written briefs which are

21 available to this Inquiry, would have come from officers

22 within E3 or IMG who were working on the South Desk, and

23 in many cases those officers would previously have

24 worked in South Region itself, and therefore were in

25 a position to have a more intimate knowledge of the

 

 

84

 


1 reality of life in the Lurgan area.

2 Q. So in terms of your recollection of discussions, as it

3 were, outside the written material we looked at

4 together, you think it is likely, do you, that those

5 were within E3 rather than between you and officers in

6 the region?

7 A. Yes, I think that summary is fair.

8 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you say in paragraph 34 of

9 your statement -- and we have it at the very bottom of

10 the page on the screen:

11 "I would have been concerned that had RUC officials

12 who were placing themselves in jeopardy should have been

13 aware of intelligence such as this ..."

14 Then reading over:

15 "... but it was certainly not my responsibility to

16 tell them or, indeed, take any action at all on receipt

17 of this intelligence."

18 Obviously there are a number of points you make

19 there, but going back to the previous page, please, and

20 the start of paragraph 34, why would you have been

21 concerned that RUC officials, as you put it, who were

22 placing themselves in jeopardy should have been aware of

23 that intelligence?

24 A. What I mean by that sentence is that those RUC officers

25 who were in regular contact either with Mr Duffy and his

 

 

85

 


1 associates or with Mrs Nelson might have their details

2 compromised by that contact.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. Now, these are grown-ups and trained officers and they

5 would expect to be particularly careful in their

6 dealings with people who were either known terrorists or

7 suspected to be terrorists.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. They might be less wary of someone who was a solicitor

10 and thereby an officer of the court and of whom rather

11 different standards were expected.

12 Q. Indeed. So to be clear then, the RUC officers or

13 officials, as you say there, you had in mind were those

14 in South Region who would have come into contact -- and

15 I'm focusing on Rosemary Nelson obviously -- with

16 Rosemary Nelson in the course of their work?

17 A. Precisely.

18 Q. Now, can I take it from the next part of this sentence,

19 where you say:

20 "... it was certainly not my responsibility to tell

21 them or, indeed, to take any actions at all on receipt

22 of this intelligence", that you took no step yourself to

23 ensure that the intelligence was brought to the

24 attention of those officers?

25 A. That's correct. My view was, as I try to say in the

 

 

86

 


1 statement, that in relation to the direct threat to any

2 officers from their contact with Mrs Nelson, the

3 responsibility for ensuring that that information was

4 passed would have been local rather than a force-wide

5 responsibility. My responsibility in my position at

6 that time was in relation to general threats which had

7 force-wide implications.

8 Q. Yes. Now, the officers you have in mind, who

9 I mentioned earlier, would have included, if I can put

10 it that way, ordinary uniformed RUC officers perhaps

11 attending court or working in the holding centres,

12 et cetera?

13 A. Yes, a very wide variety of officers.

14 Q. Yes. So it was by no means confined to local

15 Special Branch officers, for example?

16 A. Oh, no, no.

17 Q. No. Now, if, therefore, it was not your responsibility

18 in your view, whose was it to make sure that this

19 intelligence was drawn to the attention of local

20 officers, including, as we have agreed, local uniformed

21 police officers who might come into contact with

22 Rosemary Nelson?

23 A. Well, there is a risk that the answer to that question

24 might need to be rather long in order to be full, and it

25 would need to relate to the system which existed within

 

 

87

 


1 the RUC at that time for disseminating intelligence

2 specifically in relation to threats to individuals.

3 Q. Yes.

4 A. And if the Inquiry wants to hear from the central

5 perspective, I will certainly try my best to help.

6 Q. Please do.

7 A. We had a system within the Special Branch for providing

8 threat assessments, but in my view the term was a little

9 bit of a misnomer because in essence what we as

10 a Special Branch provided was an assessment of

11 intelligence in relation to a threat, not a threat

12 assessment in the more global sense. And I say that

13 because the assessment of a threat to an individual

14 would depend on many elements, including overt, open

15 source material, the lifestyle of the person under

16 threat and so on.

17 The responsibility of Special Branch was in relation

18 to intelligence and there were two ways that the

19 intelligence would be relevant. One was general

20 intelligence, so, for example, you might say, well, it

21 was common knowledge that there was a threat to police

22 officers from terrorists in Northern Ireland in 1997 or

23 in 1985 or whatever, but actually there was more than

24 common knowledge; there was secret intelligence about

25 the attitudes of terrorist organisations and what their

 

 

88

 


1 priorities were and what their capabilities were.

2 Then there was specific intelligence. Specific

3 intelligence indicates that judge A or policeman B is

4 under specific threat from this group of terrorists.

5 Now, the way that you would respond to that would not be

6 to send pieces of paper to the Superintendent in E3, who

7 is sitting thinking about what we called earlier the big

8 picture; there were mechanisms within the organisation

9 to pass that intelligence or a sanitised form that of

10 intelligence to the police officer or other individual

11 who was in a position actually to do something about it.

12 Now, if we can narrow this down to the proposition

13 which was put a few minutes ago, I would have expected

14 from my armchair in 65 Knock Road that the local SB, on

15 receipt and analysis of this intelligence, would have

16 taken steps to prepare some form of words for those

17 police commanders who were responsible for the police

18 officers who might come into contact with Mrs Nelson.

19 That might include police officers patrolling in Lurgan,

20 it might include police officers on reception desk in

21 Castlereagh holding centre.

22 Q. Thank you. So at the sharp end, if I can put it this

23 way, in terms of actually giving the information to

24 those who might be at risk, that would involve, on the

25 example you have given, moving out of Special Branch

 

 

89

 


1 into other parts of the RUC so as to ensure that

2 uniformed and other non-Special Branch officers were

3 made aware?

4 A. Oh, it was a very regular thing that intelligence in

5 relation to threats, either to areas or to individuals

6 or to institutions, would be passed to a uniformed

7 branch police commander who was not vetted to receive

8 secret intelligence, but it would be passed in a form

9 which would be intended to enable him or her to address

10 the threat without worrying them about the origins of

11 the intelligence.

12 Q. Yes. Can we just look at the relevant piece of paper,

13 which is RNI-548-071 (displayed)? Using this as an

14 example and assuming that all happened as you have

15 explained it should have happened, what then would have

16 been passed down to the uniformed officers in relation

17 to Rosemary Nelson in, if I can put it this way, your

18 experienced and expert view?

19 A. Well, I think the short answer -- the short, honest

20 answer to that specific question is I don't know because

21 I didn't have the responsibility for taking action on

22 the basis of that intelligence. I could speculate about

23 how I might have drafted some information and which

24 officers I would think it would be necessary to

25 communicate it to, but I would have to say that would be

 

 

90

 


1 purely speculation because I don't know what the SB

2 commander who dealt with that actually did about it.

3 Q. And that's the first thing, when you say "the

4 commander", do you mean the Regional Head of

5 Special Branch or do you mean somebody lower down?

6 A. In the first instance -- I don't want to discuss too

7 much about the methodology or dealing with intelligence

8 in the first instance. Some of that may have been

9 discussed in front of this Inquiry -- I don't know --

10 but I suspect that some of the techniques are still

11 being used in other theatres today, and I would rather

12 not go into that area. But there would be an officer of

13 inspector or chief inspector rank who would have been

14 aware of the nature of the intelligence, the whole of

15 the intelligence at a very early stage, and he or she

16 would have been responsible for doing two things.

17 Firstly, dealing with any issues that arose and

18 required an operational response, and secondly, dealing

19 with how to communicate that intelligence into the

20 intelligence community so that it was of use but without

21 compromising its origin.

22 Q. Now, disseminating, if I can use that expression, within

23 the intelligence community is one thing. The example we

24 are positing here based on this document takes us

25 outside the intelligence --

 

 

91

 


1 A. It certainly does, yes.

2 Q. And presumably that would involve transmission at some

3 level outside Special Branch to somebody within, as it

4 were, the ordinary RUC command structure?

5 A. Yes, certainly.

6 Q. At what level would that have been, please?

7 A. Well, it would depend on the, shall we say, the

8 geographical area, what the military would call the

9 TAOR. So there if there were a threat which was

10 specific to a subdivision, my feeling is that it would

11 probably have been given to the Subdivisional Commander.

12 If it were more general to a division, then the

13 Divisional Commander would need to know and you could

14 take that up.

15 Q. But just moving it on to that stage and bearing in mind

16 the concern you expressed about the need to pass the

17 information on in a sanitised way, presumably if it was

18 to be of any effect in terms of alerting those who were

19 likely to come into contact with Rosemary Nelson, the

20 message -- forget about the specific wording -- would

21 have had to be conveyed to the uniformed officers: this

22 solicitor is using her position as a lawyer to gather

23 information for the Provisional IRA?

24 A. Well, certainly the systems which we employed, I would

25 expect that to happen.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes.

2 A. But I don't know how well, for example, the officers in

3 Lurgan knew their local community. And let me give you

4 a concrete example for which I can speak -- and I'm not

5 suggesting that this is a direct parallel; I'm just

6 trying to help the Inquiry.

7 When I was a chief inspector in Lisburn, not vetted,

8 not privy to secret intelligence, I know that I was

9 aware of a practising solicitor from a nearby town who

10 had an improper relationship with Loyalists and who

11 would regularly be either in my police station or in

12 Castlereagh holding centre seeing Loyalist prisoners and

13 not conducting himself in the way which would be

14 expected by the courts or the Law Society or any ethical

15 body or governing body, and I knew that.

16 Now, I don't think I knew that because I had read

17 one of these forms. I think I knew that because

18 probably one of the first things I was told when I heard

19 that this man was on his way to the police station to

20 represent his client was, "Oh, you want to watch him,

21 his conduct is not ethical". Those are not the exact

22 words I would have expected to hear, but you get the

23 picture.

24 Q. Yes. So if there is an analogy here, if the local

25 uniformed police in Lurgan knew their area and knew

 

 

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1 their job, you think that they may well have been making

2 the same sort of comments based on this about this

3 particular lawyer, Rosemary Nelson?

4 A. If I were to say yes to that question, it would be

5 speculation. What I was trying to get across in my

6 statement is that irrespective of what rumours and

7 gossip may go around police stations, if there is

8 intelligence to substantiate a concern, then it is

9 necessary to share that intelligence, provided that that

10 is possible without compromising the source, with those

11 who are likely to be affected by any adverse outcome.

12 Q. Indeed, but as I understood it, the point of the example

13 you gave from your own personal experience in Lisburn

14 was that there were situations and occasions where, if

15 there had been a passing on of what was originally

16 intelligence in a sanitised form, in fact it would be

17 telling local officers what they already knew for

18 themselves?

19 A. That can certainly happen. The other thing that can

20 happen, of course, is that when you pass it outside the

21 control of vetted personnel, it is no longer a secret.

22 Q. Indeed. And in that way, what was originally

23 intelligence kept within the confines and disciplines of

24 the intelligence community moves outside it and takes on

25 a completely different form. That's correct, isn't it?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, the passage of intelligence always involves the

2 snaggling of controls, and I was trying to allude

3 earlier to the need to know principle and the difficulty

4 that that produces because there is not always a shared

5 view of who needs to know what and when. And if there

6 is intelligence in relation to a threat, the normal

7 practice is to insist that that intelligence is shared

8 in some form because we have to take cognisance of the

9 people who are under threat. The force instructions

10 were absolutely clear about that.

11 Q. And of course, when intelligence in the sanitised or

12 whatever form it was leaves the intelligence community

13 with its structures and controls, then by definition,

14 there are no longer the same ways to confine it, order

15 it or control it?

16 A. Absolutely.

17 Q. Now, so far as the other aspect of this is concerned, if

18 we could go back to paragraph 33, RNI 846-302

19 (displayed), what you say there, which is where we

20 started, is that Rosemary Nelson in your view, shared by

21 others as you have now made clear, within E3 was

22 committing a criminal offence.

23 Now, in relation to that, however, you say, as I

24 understand it at the end of this paragraph, that it was

25 for the Regional Head of Special Branch to decide

 

 

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1 whether any follow-up action was required.

2 Now, by that, did you include any steps to, for

3 example, prosecute Rosemary Nelson in relation to the

4 commission of the offence you have mentioned?

5 A. Well, in relation to that sentence, that is precisely

6 what I had in mind.

7 Q. Yes. So you in your central role, as you say, in your

8 armchair, didn't regard yourself as under any -- if I

9 can put it this way -- professional duty or obligation

10 in relation to what appeared to be the commission of an

11 criminal offence?

12 A. No, I didn't.

13 Q. Did you regard yourself as under any responsibility at

14 least to check what action, if any, was being taken by

15 the Regional Head of Special Branch?

16 A. No, I didn't, and I don't think he would have welcomed

17 that either.

18 Q. No. Presumably, if criminal proceedings or an

19 investigation in the first place was to be begun, it

20 would have been begun not by the Regional Head of

21 Special Branch or, indeed, Special Branch at all, but by

22 the local CID?

23 A. Yes. In the three regions, the CID and the

24 Special Branch were each headed by a detective chief

25 superintendent and in each of the three regions they had

 

 

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1 a very close working relationship, and my assessment --

2 and what I'm alluding to in this paragraph -- is that

3 had the Regional Head of Special Branch in South Region

4 felt that this was a criminal offence taking place, that

5 it was desirable to prosecute and that it was possible

6 to prosecute without compromising the sources, then he

7 would have said to the Regional Head of CID, "Look, do

8 you know what is going on here? Here is how you might

9 go about getting some evidence in order to do something

10 about it." That sort of discussion would not be

11 a discussion to which I, in Knock Road, would be privy.

12 Q. No, indeed. And as far as you are aware, no such

13 discussion took place?

14 A. As far as I'm aware, that's right.

15 Q. You told us earlier that your earlier experience of

16 policing was in the Metropolitan Police?

17 A. That's right.

18 Q. Is it right that in that force -- I think you reached

19 the rank of chief inspector, did you?

20 A. Yes, I was a detective chief inspector in the CID when

21 I left.

22 Q. Yes. Now, it may be that there isn't an easy or fair

23 analogy here, but is it possible for you drawing on your

24 experience in CID in the Metropolitan Police Force to

25 answer the question whether you think this matter, the

 

 

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1 disclosure of intelligence of what appeared to you to be

2 the commission of a serious criminal offence by

3 a lawyer, would have been handled differently?

4 A. I think there is a degree of public knowledge or at the

5 very least publicly aired suspicion that not all the

6 solicitors who attend police stations in London to see

7 their clients comply with the law and the full ethical

8 codes of behaviour that would be required of them. And

9 when I was a CID officer in London, there were one or

10 two solicitors of whom it was said that you should be

11 particularly careful. I'm only talking about very small

12 numbers now, but this was -- it is a fact of life: all

13 professions have people who do not meet the standards

14 that are required.

15 Q. Indeed. That is, if I may say so, an ethical point you

16 are making in relation to professional standards. Here,

17 we are talking on your view about the commission of a

18 serious criminal offence. And can I ask you again now:

19 based on your experience of the Met, if a matter of this

20 kind, disclosing the apparent commission of a serious

21 criminal offence, had come to the attention of the

22 Special Branch within the Metropolitan Police, wouldn't

23 you have expected it to be referred on for investigation

24 to CID?

25 A. I don't think the parallel is exact because I think with

 

 

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1 the London case at the time the sort of matters which

2 I'm suggesting, where solicitors were misbehaving, were

3 actually in relation to what you might call ordinary

4 crime matters. Serious crime certainly, although in one

5 area I served in even relatively modest crime, there

6 were certain solicitors that we kept a weather eye on

7 when they went to the police station.

8 I would put it slightly higher than merely ethical

9 misbehaviour. There were occasions when it was believed

10 that information was being communicated which

11 facilitated criminal behaviour, either the evasion of

12 successful prosecution or in some cases the evasion of

13 arrest by co-conspirators and that sort of thing. That

14 would be, I would consider, a serious matter.

15 Q. But in those cases was consideration given to

16 investigating with criminal proceedings in mind?

17 A. I'm sure it was.

18 Q. Yes. Now --

19 A. I don't think there were any prosecutions, though.

20 Q. No.

21 A. Because it is in the nature of things that the

22 consultations and other dealings between criminal

23 suspects and solicitors are confidential and that really

24 you may get intelligence about what's going on, but in

25 the absence of a confession either from a criminal or

 

 

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1 from a solicitor, you are not going to get evidence.

2 And we all know from public discussion here about the

3 difference between evidence and intelligence.

4 Q. Indeed. But do you think that was also the explanation

5 why in this, and in the later cases which you deal with

6 in your statement, nothing, so far as you are aware, was

7 done to investigate the conduct of Rosemary Nelson

8 because the focus was on intelligence rather than on the

9 gathering of evidence for criminal prosecution?

10 A. No, I don't. I said earlier -- and I certainly stand

11 over the proposition -- that the main focus during the

12 time of the main troubles here was on saving life and

13 gathering intelligence to enable you to save life and

14 protecting the sources of that intelligence so that you

15 could continue to save life in the future.

16 Q. Indeed.

17 A. And that prosecution was an important but a secondary

18 consideration. I stand by that entirely.

19 In relation to the question which I have just been

20 asked, there are other explanations. They involve

21 speculation on my part, but let's put it this way: just

22 say the only reason that South Region were able to

23 communicate that intelligence to Headquarters in

24 a written form was because one person, one person, who

25 had particular knowledge had told a police officer that

 

 

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1 piece of information.

2 You can imagine then, with the nature of

3 Northern Ireland's problems and with the track record of

4 Mr Duffy, that it would not be considered a light

5 matter, how to handle intelligence arising from that

6 sort of consideration.

7 Just say it came from another source, a technical

8 source. These can take a long, long time, these

9 operations. They can save many lives over a period of

10 time. Before you would take any executive action to

11 exploit intelligence from one of these sources in

12 a positive way like prosecution, you would need to give

13 very, very careful consideration to the avenues for

14 saving life in the future that you might be closing down

15 by this particular operation.

16 I don't say it is never done. I say that if you are

17 running your operations properly, you should be taking

18 all these factors into account when you are making your

19 decision.

20 Q. Now, can I just move on to ask you about a further

21 aspect of this which you raise in your statement at the

22 top of the next page, RNI-846-303 (displayed), where in

23 relation to the same matter you say:

24 "I may also have thought ..."

25 I assume you mean at the time:

 

 

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1 "... does the Chief Constable know about this, but

2 in reality the then Chief Constable often had a way of

3 knowing things such as this."

4 What was it about this particular bit of

5 intelligence that made you wonder whether the Head of

6 the RUC knew about it?

7 A. Well, because I viewed it as a very serious matter, if

8 a lawyer was compromising the entire legal profession

9 through inappropriate behaviour.

10 Q. Do you have any recollection of doing anything to ensure

11 that it reached his attention?

12 A. No, I don't, but I think now -- and I'm sure I thought

13 when I made this statement -- that he probably knew, and

14 I can't say in terms of the movement of intelligence why

15 I thought he would know. It is more to do with the sort

16 of man he was and the sort of communications which would

17 take place between him and his Head of Special Branch.

18 Q. So to be clear then, when you say in reality he often

19 had a way of knowing things, was that way by of his

20 exchanges, for example, with his Head of Special Branch?

21 A. Certainly that would be one of the principal ways yes.

22 Q. So it follows, doesn't it, that if this matter reached

23 his attention, it would have reached it by being passed

24 on to him by the Head of Special Branch?

25 A. Well, it may have done. It may have reached him by

 

 

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1 being passed on in the form of a briefing note of the

2 type that we talked about earlier.

3 Q. But from what you have said just now, this wouldn't have

4 been a briefing note which you had any part in because

5 you said you didn't do anything to draw it to his

6 attention?

7 A. I don't recall doing anything to draw it to his

8 attention.

9 Q. Do you think it possible that you might have done so?

10 A. I might have said, "He needs to see this piece of

11 paper". I might have spoken to him personally. I don't

12 recall now whether I did either of those things.

13 Q. Do you think it is the sort of thing, bluntly, that he

14 should have known?

15 A. I think that I would have thought it is the sort of

16 thing he should have known, yes.

17 Q. Yes. And can I take it when you say "the then

18 Chief Constable often had a way of knowing things", are

19 you referring there to Sir Ronnie Flanagan?

20 A. I am.

21 Q. Can I take it that that point you expressed is based on

22 your own experience of working with him, working for him

23 and dealing with him over the years?

24 A. Yes, he would move about the building and talk to people

25 and was full of energy and enthusiasm for the job. And

 

 

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1 you didn't always have to go to him to tell him things;

2 he would sometimes appear at your door and ask you

3 things.

4 Q. Was it also your experience when you briefed him that he

5 already knew about things which you had come to tell

6 him?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Thank you. Now, you say specifically in relation to

9 Rosemary Nelson in your statement, RNI-846-308

10 (displayed), that you had:

11 "... been asked if I ever had conversations with the

12 Chief Constable in relation to Rosemary Nelson. I used

13 to speak to the Chief Constable regularly both formally

14 and informally, but I have no recollection of ever

15 discussing Mrs Nelson directly with him."

16 That was your view when you made the statement, and

17 can I assume that that remains the position today?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. You also tell us in your statement -- I showed the

20 passage briefly earlier -- that you briefed the

21 Secretary of State, and that's paragraph 23 at

22 RNI-846-299 (displayed). Do you have any recollection

23 of discussing in that briefing Rosemary Nelson and the

24 issues surrounding her with the Secretary of State?

25 A. I have no recollection of it and I would be 99 per cent

 

 

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1 certain that I didn't do it.

2 Q. Why do you say that, please?

3 A. Because that sort of -- issues in relation to

4 individuals were not things that secretaries of state

5 wanted to know and upon which they would formulate

6 a policy. It was more to do with organisations, their

7 attitude, their outlook, their capability and so on.

8 Q. Even when individuals were closely involved in

9 significant political events and developments?

10 A. Yes, that was not the Secretary of State's interest.

11 Q. No. Do you remember briefing the Secretary of State or

12 having conversations with her, it was at this stage,

13 from the New Labour administration, in May 1997, about

14 the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition, for example?

15 A. I don't think I personally briefed her on that matter,

16 no.

17 Q. But it would have been a matter of interest to

18 politicians and to her, would it not?

19 A. Yes, she would have certainly had written briefs in

20 relation to that issue.

21 Q. Now, moving to the next intelligence report -- next in

22 time -- that you deal with -- it is paragraph 45 at

23 RNI-846-303 (displayed) -- here you are addressing

24 a document from August 1997, so over a year after the

25 one we have just spent some time discussing. And what I

 

 

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1 would like to do, please, is to put the document on the

2 right-hand side of the screen for us all to look at at

3 the same time, and it is RNI-541-148 (displayed). Yes,

4 please. Thank you very much.

5 This concerns what was said to be Rosemary Nelson's

6 involvement in representing Colin Duffy, who was

7 accused, as you mention in your statement, of the

8 murders of the two police officers in Lurgan.

9 Now, this murder had a very substantial impact in

10 Northern Ireland, did it not? And you tell us later

11 your statement, in paragraph 59, that you are certain it

12 would have been the desire of Special Branch to get

13 Colin Duffy convicted of the murder of the two

14 constables in Lurgan. What you tell us about this piece

15 of intelligence is that:

16 "When I read this report, I would have thought

17 nothing other than 'what were they doing about it in

18 Portadown' because, as I have stated, it was not in my

19 remit to take any action or to challenge those in

20 Portadown on what action they were taking on receipt of

21 intelligence such as this."

22 So again, in this context, as I understand it, you

23 formulate a question as to what somebody else might be

24 doing but didn't regard it as your role to do anything

25 about it yourself?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, the terminology I have used may not be terribly

2 helpful to the Inquiry, the reference to Portadown, but

3 the headquarters of the Special Branch for that region

4 was situated just outside Portadown, and that's what I

5 was referring to.

6 Q. But again, this, what appears to be, evidence of further

7 improper behaviour in support of the interests of PIRA,

8 if I can put it that way, was not something that you

9 yourself felt any obligation to raise with

10 Special Branch officers in the region?

11 A. Certainly not.

12 Q. And can I take it, therefore, that you regarded this

13 also as a matter for them to take decisions on and deal

14 with as they saw fit?

15 A. Absolutely. I think it is important to remember that

16 the senior officers in the South Region in the

17 headquarters close to Portadown and the Special Branch

18 officers working for them from Lurgan RUC station and,

19 indeed, other officers in other parts of

20 Northern Ireland, were working a very complex and, I may

21 say, sophisticated intelligence system involving very

22 many strands, very many different techniques of

23 intelligence gathering, very many different sources of

24 intelligence,[ Redacted

25 Redacted

 

 

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1 Redacted

2 Redacted ]

3 depending on your choice of vocabulary.

4 It was essential to keep as many of the different

5 elements of that complex picture in place for as long as

6 possible in order to do the work that we were being

7 asked to do as effectively as possible.

8 I could not possibly say from what I previously

9 described as my armchair in 65 Knock Road what was going

10 on at the ground level intelligence-gathering in Lurgan.

11 So for me simply to ring up the Regional Head of

12 Special Branch and say, "Look, this is disgraceful, how

13 long are you going to let this woman carry on like

14 this?" it would just have been -- apart from me assuming

15 authority which I did not have, because the structures

16 were quite clear and I was shown the structures and

17 agreed them early on -- it would have been

18 a demonstration of naivety about the operations which

19 were being carried on for the benefit of us all in the

20 Lurgan and Portadown areas.

21 I didn't know what the different strands were [

22 redacted

23 redacted ].

24 Q. So had you made such an attempt, made contact with the

25 Regional Head of Special Branch, for example, you would

 

 

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1 have expected to receive a firm brush-off?

2 A. I expect there are those in this room who know the

3 contact concerned and a firm brush-off might be an

4 understatement in that respect. But actually it would

5 have been right for that individual to have given me

6 a firm brush-off because that would not have been my

7 position.

8 It may well have been that he would have said, "We

9 can't do it and there are reasons which you don't need

10 to know" -- I think that is his most likely response.

11 He might have said, "Yes, we would like to do it, but

12 actually you are seeing the intelligence, we haven't got

13 any evidence and it is unlikely we will acquire any

14 evidence."

15 Q. So far as drawing it to the attention of anybody else

16 other than in the region, do you think you would again,

17 given that this is now a year later or more, have said

18 to yourself, "I wonder if the Chief Constable knows

19 about this"?

20 A. No, I don't think so.

21 Q. Why is that?

22 A. I think I would have assumed that the Chief Constable

23 must have known.

24 Q. By this stage?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. If not before?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Thank you. And would you have done anything to draw it

4 to the attention of your bosses; in other words, the

5 people up the chart that we looked at?

6 A. Well, I cannot now say specifically that it happened,

7 but --

8 Q. You think it likely?

9 A. I would be absolutely certain that this very issue would

10 have been discussed at one of regular management

11 meetings within the RUC Special Branch senior hierarchy.

12 Q. And by "this particular issue", you mean what was

13 believed to be improper, if not criminal, behaviour on

14 the part of Rosemary Nelson in support of the activities

15 of PIRA?

16 A. Certainly.

17 Q. Yes. But can I take it from that answer that you are

18 not able to assist us with what the conclusions of any

19 such discussion would have been?

20 A. Yes. Well, if you mean was there a decision taken to do

21 something about it --

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. -- then I probably would not be privy to that because it

24 would probably involve the use of secret techniques in

25 the first stage in order to develop the intelligence

 

 

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1 picture to create the opportunity for evidence gathering

2 as opposed to intelligence gathering. And if that were

3 to take place, that would be an operational matter and

4 that wouldn't be for me to be involved in.

5 Q. No, but do you think it is possible that after that sort

6 of discussion at that level within Special Branch,

7 a decision was taken to let things ride so as to see

8 whether the intelligence picture could be developed?

9 A. I don't know whether the expression "let things ride"

10 is -- whether the connotations are exactly what I would

11 wish to convey to this Inquiry.

12 I think if I could rephrase it along the lines of,

13 well, we have some picture of what is going on and some

14 picture is better than no picture. But in terms of

15 developing the intelligence picture, that is what we

16 were always trying to do in respect of all matters that

17 were of intelligence interest, including this one.

18 Q. Thank you. Now moving on to the next document,

19 in September 1997 -- you refer to it in paragraph 38,

20 RNI-541-167, if we could have that on the right-hand

21 side, please (displayed). And I think the substance is

22 at RNI-541-168 (displayed). Thank you very much.

23 And here, very much on the same theme in the context

24 of the same case, do you see, a suggestion of comments

25 allegedly made by Rosemary Nelson in a conversation,

 

 

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1 giving the impression, it says here, that she was very

2 close to PIRA?

3 Now, when you deal with this in your statement, you

4 say again in paragraph 39:

5 "At the end of the day, this was criminal behaviour

6 on the part of Mrs Nelson, but it was only known about

7 through secret sources. Whilst those that knew about it

8 might believe that investigations of criminal conduct

9 were required, it was up to the RHSB, the Regional Head

10 of Special Branch, to initiate this if he thought it was

11 something the Regional Head of CID should take

12 action on."

13 So is it implicit in that that it may well have been

14 the view of the Regional Head of Special Branch that it

15 was more important to protect his secret sources than to

16 launch a criminal investigation in relation to what you

17 say is criminal conduct?

18 A. In the absence of direct personal knowledge of the

19 answer to that question, my judgment is yes, that's

20 probably what was running through the mind of the

21 Regional Head.

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. If you look, for example, at that particular piece of

24 intelligence which is on the screen now, it is slightly

25 unusual for a sanitised report to include quotations,

 

 

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1 direct quotations in inverted commas.

2 Q. Indeed.

3 A. Now, as an assessments desk officer, retired, I would

4 make certain judgments about where that might have come

5 from and the sensitivity of it.

6 Q. Indeed.

7 A. And if that is right, then I would understand why the

8 Regional Head might want to share that intelligence with

9 certain people that he thought needed to know, but not

10 necessarily run the risk of compromising the source

11 which produced the intelligence because, whilst that

12 source might have been producing intelligence which

13 damned Mrs Nelson, [ redacted ]

14 may also have been producing intelligence which stopped

15 community constables being shot in the back of their

16 heads as they walked about the streets of Lurgan.

17 Q. Now, the next matter you deal with in your statement --

18 again, I'm simply following the chronology set out

19 there -- is in paragraph 46. Could we have that on the

20 left-hand side, please? That is RNI-846-306

21 (displayed), and on the right-hand side the intelligence

22 that you are commenting on, which is RNI-542-064

23 (displayed):

24 "Rosemary Nelson continues to have a close

25 association with Lurgan PIRA, in particular

 

 

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1 Colin Duffy."

2 And in the end:

3 "She regularly briefs Colin Duffy on the CID

4 investigation and actively assists him in creating

5 alibis for PIRA members."

6 Now, you say in paragraph 46, having referred to

7 this:

8 "This report comments on Rosemary Nelson's

9 association s with PIRA."

10 I should have said February 1998:

11 "I can certainly recall this intelligence and it is

12 very familiar to me. As I have stated, I would have

13 just banked this intelligence as its sole use to me

14 would have been to apprise me of its existence so I

15 could consider the big picture."

16 Now, can you help with this? By this

17 stage, February 1998, what part did Rosemary Nelson play

18 in your big picture?

19 A. Well, it was not just Mrs Nelson; it was the activity of

20 Provisional IRA personnel. In particular in this

21 context in relation to events in Lurgan and Portadown,

22 public order matters would have been particularly

23 important.

24 Q. At this stage.

25 A. Yes, at this stage, and they would have been

 

 

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1 particularly important to Government and senior civil

2 servants who were trying to find some way of addressing

3 problems arising from contested marches in mid-Ulster.

4 And, of course, after the ceasefire of August 1994

5 Mr Duffy continued to figure prominently in a -- what he

6 would have called, I suppose, a military context as

7 well. And as the Inquiry will know, there were

8 prosecutions mounted against him and there were other

9 operations which led to trials failing and so on.

10 Q. But do you see here, in the report on the right,

11 Rosemary Nelson is certainly a feature. She is the way

12 the report begins and she is the person with whom the

13 report ends.

14 And so I come back to the question of how

15 significant was it, intelligence suggesting this sort

16 of, I think you would say, criminal activity,

17 unprofessional activity, assisting Provisional IRA, how

18 important was that to you in your assessment of the big

19 picture?

20 A. Well, it was probably -- it was significant that I

21 should understand relationships in the mid-Ulster area

22 involving legal figures, political figures, community

23 groups and terrorist groups. The extent to which I

24 would want to exploit intelligence in relation to names

25 of individuals would probably be fairly limited because

 

 

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1 my function was really to produce assessments for users

2 or customers or whatever, which would attempt to

3 anticipate the outcome of stand-offs or negotiations or

4 whatever it was in relation to forthcoming parades and

5 that sort of thing.

6 Q. So can I ask you about this piece of intelligence and

7 what you would have done with it, other than considering

8 it in your own assessment: would you have done anything

9 with this information by way of upward reporting, either

10 to the Deputy Head of Special Branch, the Head of

11 Special Branch or the Chief Constable?

12 A. Well, I would be pretty certain that the Deputy Head of

13 Special Branch and the Head of Special Branch would know

14 about this intelligence, and I don't know whether it is

15 possible for our clerks here to put on the front page of

16 this, but there might be an indication as to

17 circulation.

18 Q. But if we have on the left-hand side, RNI-542-062

19 (displayed), I think we will see the front page. Does

20 that help?

21 A. Well, it would help more if it was after the

22 introduction of the IMG and IMAGIRs because there would

23 actually be a distribution list, which was what I was

24 hoping to see.

25 Q. It is after the introduction of the IMG because it is

 

 

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1 in March 1998?

2 A. Then I'm surprised that there is not a front cover of

3 the type which I was shown earlier. There is a slight

4 problem with this, that the Inquiry's black ink seems to

5 have stamped out the level. If you look at "Text

6 caveat" about halfway down on the left-hand side, it

7 says:

8 "ND ..."

9 Which means "no dissemination":

10 "... outside SB level [something]."

11 Q. I think it is 19, probably. This, I should say, is, as

12 we understand it, a MACER printout. A printout from the

13 MACER system.

14 A. If it is 19, it is very helpful because that suggests to

15 me that the distribution would have been fairly wide.

16 I'm sorry that -- I was going to say I am no longer in

17 a position. I wonder whether I ever was in a position

18 to be able to describe exactly who fell into each of the

19 category levels. I have a feeling that they were

20 probably primary numbers and that the levels will have

21 been 19, 17, 13 and so on. And my recollection -- and I

22 will very quickly defer to anyone who wants to come and

23 say I have forgotten it, but my recollection is that the

24 smaller the number, the -- on the classification level,

25 then the more restricted the circulation of the document

 

 

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1 was to be. I'm pretty sure that 19 would be fairly

2 wide.

3 Q. Our understanding is completely the other way round.

4 This is one of the highest levels.

5 A. I would defer and gladly give this chair to someone who

6 was much more cognisant of the computer system than I

7 was.

8 Q. Can we just move on in your statement this time to

9 April 1998, just before you ceased to be the Head of

10 IMG. This is paragraph 53 at the bottom of the page,

11 RNI-846-308 (displayed). Here you are dealing with yet

12 another report, as I say, in April that year. You say

13 a few lines down:

14 "The report certainly seems very familiar to [you]."

15 Then you say:

16 "As I have stated, I would not have done anything

17 with this intelligence as there was very little that

18 someone in my position could do operationally. When I

19 was Chief Superintendent and covered E9 as well, I may

20 given approval in relation to proposed operational

21 actions."

22 Just pausing there. E9 had an operational element,

23 if I can put it that way?

24 A. There was a small operational wing, yes.

25 Q. "... but this was about the limit of what I could have

 

 

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1 done from an operational perspective."

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. So can I take it then that as far as you can recollect,

4 you instigated no operational action at the time you

5 were responsible for E9 in relation to these matters:

6 Rosemary Nelson and the intelligence we have been

7 looking at in relation to her?

8 A. I didn't suggest to the Regional Head of South Region

9 that I should have done. The Regional Head of South

10 Region never asked me to do so.

11 Q. Can I just ask you a few questions about the

12 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition we touched on a little

13 earlier. You make it clear in your statement, for

14 example, in paragraph 42 at RNI-846 that the IMG was

15 interested, if I can put it that way, in the GRRC. Is

16 that correct?

17 A. Yes, the activities of groups like that and including

18 that group formed part of the strategic intelligence

19 requirement.

20 Q. And you say in paragraph 43 -- if we can have that on

21 the left-hand side, please, RNI-846-305 (displayed) --

22 that you weren't surprised to learn that Rosemary Nelson

23 was, as you put it, working on their behalf, working on

24 behalf of the GRRC?

25 A. Yes, that's right.

 

 

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1 Q. You say further on that:

2 "If they were going to have a lawyer, it is not

3 a surprise that they chose one who was sympathetic to

4 their cause."

5 By that, do you mean the wider Republican cause?

6 A. Yes, that's what I mean.

7 Q. Now, in relation to the IMG's interest, as you explain

8 there, your intelligence requirements -- presumably

9 requirements for your customers; is that correct?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Was to assess the degree to which there was a connection

12 between the Residents Coalition on the one hand and PIRA

13 on the other?

14 A. That would certainly be part of it, yes.

15 Q. What else was there?

16 A. Well, to assess the degree of influence of the

17 Provisional IRA, but also to assess the strength of

18 feeling and the numbers that were likely to be involved

19 in any particular activity, the equipment,

20 communications equipment, weaponry that they might be --

21 might have access to, their attitude as to whether they

22 would be prepared to use it, and of course the same

23 considerations in relation to the other party on the

24 other side.

25 Q. Indeed. So this was both, if I can put it this way,

 

 

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1 under the political heading and the public order

2 heading?

3 A. Exactly.

4 Q. Yes. Now, in this very specific context of the GRRC,

5 you go on to say:

6 "I certainly don't think ..."

7 This is paragraph 43, third line:

8 "... that the fact that Rosemary Nelson was acting

9 for the GRRC altered Special Branch's perception of her

10 as a lawyer doing her job. It was already very well

11 known that she represented Republican clients."

12 Now, what you have said in your statement other than

13 at this point, and we have discussed at some length in

14 your evidence, is that she was a lawyer but in your view

15 she was also acting at the very best unprofessionally

16 and, in your view, I think, criminally. So she was

17 hardly just a lawyer doing her job, was she?

18 A. Well, I think, without wishing to argue the semantics,

19 perhaps the addition of a comma in the sentence might

20 reflect better what I'm saying in this sentence. But

21 let me forget the comma for a moment and rephrase the

22 thing entirely. If I say -- what I mean by that

23 sentence is, to put it sort of in common tongue, the

24 fact that Mrs Nelson appeared as a spokesperson or legal

25 representative for the GRRC did not lower her reputation

 

 

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1 in the eyes of Special Branch officers who already had

2 a view of the way that she did her job. So when it says

3 "their perception of her as a lawyer doing her job", I

4 don't mean their perception was she was merely a lawyer

5 doing her job; I mean their perception with all its

6 connotations of her as a lawyer doing her job.

7 Q. In other words, doing her job in a way that you regarded

8 as being unprofessional and also criminal?

9 A. Yes. In other words, what I'm trying to say in

10 a sentence, which is perhaps not as clear as it might

11 be, is that the revelation that she was the chosen

12 spokesperson or lawyer or representative for the GRRC

13 would not have caused shockwaves and gasps amongst those

14 Special Branch officers whose opinion of her was already

15 lower than it might otherwise have been.

16 Q. Now, so far, finally, as the relationship between her

17 and Colin Duffy is concerned, you deal with this in

18 RNI-846-309, paragraph 54 (displayed). You say in

19 summary you don't recall seeing intelligence reports

20 about their relationship, but that you were aware of the

21 allegations to that effect. Is that a fair summary?

22 A. Yes, that's certainly true.

23 Q. How do you think then that you would have been made

24 aware of those allegations?

25 A. If there are no written reports which I'm likely to have

 

 

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1 seen, then it must have been through discussion with

2 officers when we were looking at written reports about

3 other matters in relation to either Mr Duffy or

4 Mrs Nelson.

5 Q. It would have been something that would have come up

6 then, is it, during those discussions?

7 A. Well, "Look, when you are thinking about this, boss, you

8 ought to know that this is the background".

9 Q. You go on to set it in some context and you make the

10 point there that it may have been of interest not just

11 presumably for the reasons you gave us earlier, which is

12 that associates of what you believe to be terrorists

13 were always of interest from an intelligence point of

14 view, but you also touch on there the possibility of

15 recruitment?

16 A. Yes, that's not an area in which I have expertise, but

17 even in my relative naivety in those days, you could see

18 that any opportunities should be considered. And I had

19 no doubt that the Regional Head of Special Branch would

20 have thought about all the opportunities presented by

21 this sort of situation.

22 Q. Can you remember discussions centrally at Headquarters

23 about the topic of possible recruitment in this context?

24 A. No, because I wouldn't have been made privy to it simply

25 because if I had then spoken about it in another

 

 

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1 quarter, I could have blown a whole operation.

2 Q. Indeed. Now, so far as, finally, as the Chief Constable

3 is concerned, paragraph 57, you were asked whether it is

4 something that the Chief Constable is likely to have

5 been told about, and you say:

6 "I have no idea if the Chief Constable would have

7 been briefed on this."

8 From what you said earlier, it surely follows that

9 it is very much the sort of thing you would have

10 expected him to know about?

11 A. Yes, I would say the position is that I don't know

12 whether he was informed, but my judgment would be that

13 it is very likely that he was.

14 Q. Those are all the questions I have for you, but as you

15 probably gather, I always give witnesses an opportunity

16 to add to the evidence they have given to this point.

17 If there is anything we haven't covered, this is your

18 chance to say it to the Tribunal.

19 A. No, I'm grateful for the courtesy which has been

20 extended to me. I think it is important in any inquiry

21 like this, which takes place ten years after the events

22 to which it relates, that the Inquiry should have the

23 opportunity to contextualise the evidence which they

24 hear, sometimes from grey-haired people like me whose

25 memory might not be all that it was, but very often from

 

 

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1 people who lived in an environment which was completely

2 different from the environment which we live in today.

3 And I think it is important to remember just how busy

4 things were in those days and how quickly everything was

5 happening and what the volume, the sheer volume,

6 magnitude, of the information and intelligence -- some

7 of which was good and some of which was not so good --

8 that was passing through the different channels, and I

9 think that's important to remember.

10 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

11 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Can I just raise one point with you, if

13 I may?

14 Mr Phillips has very thoroughly gone through your

15 evidence, your specific evidence, but can I just bring

16 you back into a general area because your position was

17 rather unique, having transferred into the Royal Ulster

18 Constabulary from another force.

19 We have come across a term that has been used quite

20 frequently: That is "Ulsterisation". Now, obviously in

21 this context it relates to such things as ACPO policy,

22 Association of Chief Police Officers, policy in relation

23 to major crime investigation and other areas.

24 Commenting on such things as officer safety, busyness,

25 which you have already referred to, and the unique

 

 

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1 environment, do you think the use of that term,

2 Ulsterisation, was justified in the environment in which

3 you were working here?

4 A. I think the term, as I understand it, was first used in

5 relation to the very -- the macro policy by which the

6 Government determined to place the RUC as the lead

7 agency rather than the Army, and to treat the particular

8 problems with which we were afflicted as a series of

9 criminal offences, whilst at the same time, as we now

10 know -- some of us didn't know at the time --

11 maintaining dialogue with those who were involved in

12 order to seek a political solution.

13 So Ulsterisation was the transfer of the lead

14 responsibility to the Chief Constable of the RUC, who

15 would either be a local person or would be running

16 a local force at the very least. That was followed very

17 largely, during reforms instituted by

18 Sir Kenneth Newman, by a number of changes. It happened

19 at policy level, whereby statutory orders and

20 instruments in Northern Ireland tended to replicate the

21 legal position in England and Wales much more closely

22 than it had previously, and by a deliberate policy of

23 integrating the RUC more into the UK police family in

24 terms of training methods and, indeed, training

25 facilities.

 

 

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1 And I think there was also talk of interchange and,

2 indeed, that was one of the things which Mr Sampson, or

3 Sir Colin Sampson mentioned in his report. I don't

4 think the interchange bit ever really took off, and

5 there were certainly no great floods of mainland

6 officers into the RUC. The majority of officers that

7 you found in the RUC with English, Scottish or Welsh

8 accents tended to be former soldiers who had married

9 Ulster women, who did not transplant very easily into

10 England, Wales or Scotland, so the officers came back on

11 transfer and worked in the RUC.

12 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Knowing what was expected of you in

13 your latter years of service here in Northern Ireland,

14 do you think it is entirely fair to measure your

15 performance against benchmarks set by policies which

16 quite simply related to England, Wales and

17 Northern Ireland?

18 A. I have written elsewhere -- and I am sure that other

19 inquiries will be interested in the problems in

20 relation, for example, to informant handling and the

21 guidelines which were in existence in England and

22 Wales -- and I am sure I will be stopped if I am

23 diverging from material which is of interest to this

24 Inquiry, but, for example, the guidelines in relation to

25 the handling of informants for England and Wales stated

 

 

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1 amongst other things that the role of the informant

2 should be a minor role. And there is the old cliche

3 about the Flying Squad informant who was always the

4 driver and how any gangs ever mounted any jobs because

5 their driver was always the informant, I don't know.

6 But that was the cliche, and the reason why the

7 cliche got credibility was someone said, "Oh, well, the

8 driver is all right under the guidelines because it's

9 only playing a minor role", but actually the law

10 stipulates that all principals involved in a criminal

11 enterprise are guilty; they are all principals. There

12 are no minor roles.

13 What is the minor role in a team of assassins who

14 set off to put a bomb under a policeman's car? Is it

15 the man who carries the bomb from the deep hide to the

16 shallow hide? Is it the woman who carries the bomb from

17 the shallow hide to the back of the car that is going to

18 deliver it to the policeman's house. Who is playing

19 a minor role there? Any one of them could be the person

20 who saves the life of the policeman who is going to get

21 the bomb under his car.

22 So the guidelines on the use of informants, for

23 example, to which we tried to adhere in a modified way

24 were actually probably not of very much help. And it

25 was impossible, I believe, with my experience from

 

 

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1 London and in Northern Ireland and, indeed, my

2 experience in the Balkans, it was impossible to pretend

3 that a simple set of guidelines which were barely

4 applicable in one context could simply be transplanted

5 to another context.

6 And I go back to what I said this morning, that this

7 was a busy, busy place and sometimes when I visited

8 before I was transferred, I would be told by people,

9 "Oh, you don't want to believe what you see in the

10 newspapers and on the television. Northern Ireland is

11 not as bad as it is painted" and I would be taken to see

12 the Giant's Causeway or whatever it was and that was

13 great.

14 But actually, when I transferred I found not that

15 Northern Ireland was actually a lot better than it was

16 painted on the mainland; it was actually a loss worse.

17 Very much worse. Every day, every town, every city,

18 there was something going on that needed to be stopped

19 and that's why it was so important to have a policy

20 which said the best way to stop this is through the use

21 of intelligence. You can flood places with policemen

22 and soldiers for a limited period, as we did when we had

23 intelligence which told us to do it, but you can't do

24 that all the time. The long-term way to deal with it is

25 through the cultivation and the protection of sources of

 

 

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1 intelligence.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Okay, thank you very much indeed.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much indeed for coming to give

4 evidence before us, Mr Albiston.

5 We will adjourn for 20 minutes.

6 (3.15 pm)

7 (Short break)

8 (3.36 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: Mr [name redacted], can you please confirm that

23 the two witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

24 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

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

 

 

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1 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

3 Bring the witness in, please.

4 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

5 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

6 switched back on.

7 Yes, Mr Skelton?

8 A681 (affirmed)

9 Questions by MR SKELTON

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

11 MR SKELTON: Momentarily on the screen, I hope you will find

12 your statement at RNI-845-112 (displayed). And if we go

13 through to page RNI-845-117 (displayed), your signature

14 has been redacted and replaced with a cipher, which is

15 number A681. And the date is 21 August. Do you

16 remember signing that statement?

17 A. Yes, I do.

18 MR SKELTON: Thank you. Sir, as I said yesterday, I might

19 just outline a few of the issues which we intend to deal

20 with in closed session at the end of the open part of

21 the evidence.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

23 MR SKELTON: You indicated on Monday that this witness was

24 likely to have a closed part of his evidence and I'm now

25 elaborating on a few of the issues which I will question

 

 

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1 him about.

2 They are, in summary, issues to the nature and remit

3 of the military unit in which he operated during the

4 period which we are looking at, and a few more details

5 about Operation Shubr, which was a particular operation

6 in to Loyalist paramilitaries which this witness was

7 involved in and particularly some documents which appear

8 in bundle 513 and relate to that operation.

9 The Full Participants will not have seen the detail

10 of those papers because they are all sensitive, for

11 military reasons. So those questions have to be

12 conducted in private.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

14 MR SKELTON: May I start by asking you something about your

15 background? I think you joined the Army some years

16 before you were posted into the unit which we are going

17 to be discussing today?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Can you tell us when that was?

20 A. 1987.

21 Q. You had been on various conventional tours, if I may put

22 it that way, into Northern Ireland prior to that?

23 A. That's right.

24 Q. As part of the Green Army, as it is called?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

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1 Q. You say in your statement at paragraph 1 that you were

2 posted to Northern Ireland as a captain of a covert

3 military surveillance unit in about spring 1998?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. I think you started out, as it were, on probation. Is

6 that correct?

7 A. That's usual practice, yes.

8 Q. How long was that for?

9 A. Generally, six months.

10 Q. So by the early autumn of 1998 you were fully

11 functioning, as it were?

12 A. That's correct, yes.

13 Q. Your position, I think, was to command a particular unit

14 in a particular area?

15 A. Ultimately, yes. Having served my probationary period,

16 I sort of assumed command.

17 Q. And at the rank of captain?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Was this the first time then that you had done this sort

20 of work?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. And how long were you in that post?

23 A. It was just under two and a half years.

24 Q. And was that a standard rotation?

25 A. That's correct, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. And are you still in the Army now?

2 A. No.

3 Q. May I ask when you left?

4 A. I left last year.

5 Q. I would now like to ask you a few questions about the

6 functioning of the unit itself and I appreciate that we

7 are heading towards possibly sensitive territory, and if

8 you are uncomfortable in answering any question, please

9 do indicate and we can take it up later.

10 The first point to make, I think, which you mention

11 in your statement was that the unit itself didn't have a

12 direct connection with military intelligence?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Does it follow from that that you weren't privy to the

15 reporting which the military agent handlers were

16 receiving?

17 A. They were completely separate, absolutely.

18 Q. And was your chain of command separate also?

19 A. They would dovetail in at the sort of senior echelons.

20 The senior officers within Headquarters Northern Ireland

21 might have been privy as to the two sides, but as far as

22 I was concerned, at a tactical level the twain never

23 met.

24 Q. And you were reporting to the General Officer

25 Commanding, the GOC?

 

 

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1 A. Directly, yes, we were a strategic asset.

2 Q. But you were directed, in terms of your operations, by

3 RUC officers?

4 A. Basically, yes. Due to police primacy, we worked to

5 them. They were the tasking agency and all the

6 information that we gathered went straight to the RUC,

7 as it was.

8 Q. Was the tasking done entirely by what is known as the

9 TCG or tasking and coordination group?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Again, a point you mention in your statement but I would

12 like to you elaborate on, please, was all the

13 information you obtained, as it were, owned by the RUC?

14 A. Yes. None of it was disseminated to the wider, as you

15 phrased it, Green Army intelligence network at all.

16 Q. So everything you did was reported to the RUC, to the

17 TCG in the first instance?

18 A. Absolutely, yes. They had ownership from then on.

19 Q. And dissemination from then on was for them to

20 determine?

21 A. Absolutely, at their discretion.

22 Q. Did you have a role, or your colleagues have a role in

23 analysis or collation of intelligence about these sorts

24 of subject?

25 A. No, that was not part of our remit to actually analyse

 

 

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1 that intelligence. We only had one piece of the

2 picture, so it wasn't our job.

3 Q. In the particular unit with which you were concerned

4 operated in the Southern Region of Northern Ireland?

5 A. Me personally, yes.

6 Q. And had a relationship with Southern Region or South

7 Region Special Branch?

8 A. Exactly that. My sub-unit's area of responsibility

9 mirrored the old RUC subdivision.

10 Q. So your tasking was principally directed by South Region

11 TCG?

12 A. Correct.

13 Q. How did tasking take place? What form of liaison did

14 you have?

15 A. On a day-to-day basis, we always had a liaison officer

16 who would visit TCG, as was, to maintain that sort of

17 physical liaison link. But the actual tasking for an

18 operation would come through via the liaison officer or

19 it could literally be a phone call to us giving us

20 a sort of bit of information as to the subject and in

21 outline what they required us to do. That is how we

22 were tasked initially.

23 Q. Did you generally receive a written document to set out

24 the limits or parameters of your task?

25 A. That would follow on. It depends on what the job was.

 

 

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1 If was it an urgent sort of fast ball, as they say in

2 the vernacular, it would literally be a phone call. But

3 we wouldn't deploy. There were checks and balances and

4 procedures to go through first before anyone set foot on

5 the ground.

6 Q. By checks and balances, what do you mean?

7 A. We would first of all look at our resources and assets

8 at our disposal and see if we had the sufficient

9 capacity to do the job, but also really because we

10 needed military authority to deploy. So it would go up

11 through the chain of command.

12 Q. And was your senior officer, therefore, making

13 a judgment about resourcing but also about

14 appropriateness, about whether it was appropriate to be

15 using a military unit at all?

16 A. Yes, they would.

17 Q. Would that be done in consultation with Special Branch,

18 or TCG, I should say?

19 A. To be honest, we sort of -- we knew what our parameters

20 were. We would never deploy or couldn't be deployed on

21 purely police or criminal-type jobs. It was in a sort

22 of counter terrorist, anti-terrorist role. So the

23 actual taskings themselves were terrorist-related. So

24 as long as they fell into that bracket, we had the

25 resources and we would sort of feed it up into the chain

 

 

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1 of command. I was happy, they were happy, then we would

2 deploy.

3 Q. When you deployed, you obviously knew the basic reason

4 or target for the deployment?

5 A. Yes, we knew the subject and the sort of -- a reason why

6 we would be deployed.

7 Q. Would you generally be privy to what could be underlying

8 intelligence to justify --

9 A. No.

10 Q. Why was that?

11 A. No, because maybe some of it would be source protection,

12 if there was some sort of covert human intelligence

13 source involved. Rather than expose that or how the

14 intelligence came about, or through other means which I

15 could discuss in a closed session, they wouldn't

16 necessarily tell us how it came about, just as to what

17 to go out and do.

18 Q. In your statement at paragraph 12, which is on

19 page RNI-845-113 (displayed), you mention what you term

20 the forecast for surveillance serials. Is that how you

21 called your work, surveillance serials?

22 A. It is a surveillance serial. A lot of surveillance is

23 picking up on a pattern of life for a subject. It is

24 just going out every day for a finite window of time,

25 however long you feel comfortable and just picking up

 

 

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1 trends. And once you do that and you get a baseline,

2 you can see if things start to appear out of the

3 ordinary. So those are the routine surveillance

4 serials.

5 Q. Those sorts of operations were amenable to a forecast;

6 in other words, you could predict over a period of

7 weeks, months, you would do that kind of work?

8 A. Essentially, yes, we would have a stable of targets that

9 we would work and it would be predicated on our exposure

10 in a given area, or on occasions the RUC would ask us to

11 focus on a particular individual or grouping.

12 Q. And while those long-term projects are running within

13 what you term the portfolio, I think in paragraph 15,

14 you had short-term tasks by might come literally --

15 A. Yes, we were on stand-by 24 hours a day. [Redacted]

16 [Redacted]

17 Q. We will come on to Operation Shubr momentarily, but was

18 it the case that some of your operations were in effect

19 open-ended?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. And the decision to terminate them would be a TCG

22 decision?

23 A. Yes, it would.

24 Q. When you determined who or where to deploy on

25 a particular day, did you have a sense of which were the

 

 

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1 priority issues, and if so, how did you come by that

2 sense?

3 A. That was really down to us in our ground knowledge and

4 our exposure to the target on routine surveillance

5 issues. It was down to myself and my operations

6 officer. If we felt that to a certain target set or

7 area we had been there for a certain amount of days or

8 time, rather than sort of compromise an operation, we

9 would leave off for a few days and move somewhere else

10 and switch to another target set that was just routine

11 surveillance.

12 Q. So every day you would be looking at your portfolio?

13 A. Having planned ahead, and generally one to two serials

14 a day.

15 Q. What form did the product of your surveillance take?

16 A. It was a written report or precis of those events that

17 was submitted to our military chain of command, to our

18 headquarters.

19 Q. Were you keeping a log of what you were watching, which

20 somebody else converted into a precis, which implies

21 that it was summarised?

22 A. Nothing was kept on the ground, nothing was written on

23 the ground. Everything was transmitted verbally or

24 stored mentally until we got back in to our base

25 location. And then there was a radio log was kept at

 

 

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1 the base location, but this included not just what the

2 surveillance team was observing, but just sort of

3 routine checks and where people were, et cetera. That

4 was kept.

5 Q. And it was your job as the captain to write that precis

6 when you got back to base?

7 A. No, the precis was transcribed live. So as the team

8 were on the ground describing what was happening, there

9 were intelligence collators who would transcribe it live

10 as events unfolded.

11 Q. Where did that precis go?

12 A. The typed precis was submitted to our headquarters at

13 the end of the day.

14 Q. Did you also directly submit it to the TCG who tasked

15 it?

16 A. No, everything went to our headquarters who then

17 precised it, collated it from the other sub-units and

18 then it was submitted to RUC Knock. How they

19 disseminated it from there, I don't know.

20 Q. Would you routinely take photographs when undertaking

21 your work?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. So ordinary surveillance would have a photographic

24 component, would it?

25 A. [Redacted]

 

 

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1 Q. But there may be times, presumably, when you were

2 requested to take photographs, were there?

3 A. It was common practice to do that.

4 Q. And this was something that TCG might expect you to do

5 for them?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Did you yourself have direct liaison with TCG?

8 A. Only when my liaison officer was away on leave or he and

9 I -- depending on the operation, [Redacted]

10 [Redacted]

11 [Redacted].

12 Q. We had a witness yesterday who you may be aware of, who

13 was the South Region Head of the TCG, in fact he was

14 a chief inspector, not a superintendent, but he was an

15 acting superintendent, witness B662. Would you have

16 been familiar with him?

17 A. Yes, I worked with B662.

18 Q. Would he be the person making the phone call to you in

19 your unit to get you out --

20 A. Yes, he would.

21 Q. You mention in your statement, I think, paragraph 18,

22 that you also had access to the computer system known as

23 MACER?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

 

 

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1 A. I didn't really actually use it. As I said, we had

2 intelligence collators and that was their tool, if you

3 like. So all the background checks or information that

4 I required or the operators needed on the ground, we

5 would ask and they would use that particular

6 intelligence tool to get that information for us.

7 Q. What level of access did you have?

8 A. I don't remember. I think it would be something like

9 13, but I can't honestly give you a categorical answer

10 on that one.

11 Q. Did you also have access to the Prism system?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Or to any other RUC terminal?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Access was presumably useful for background preparation,

16 was it?

17 A. Background preparation, yes, and also whilst you were on

18 the ground, carrying out number plate checks, et cetera.

19 Q. Would you expect to have a decent general knowledge of

20 the paramilitaries operating in your patch?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. So you would be able to recognise them by sight?

23 A. You had a -- it was quite a large patch, southern

24 region, so you would have a very general awareness of

25 the groupings from East Tyrone, South Armagh to

 

 

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1 Portadown. Then, as you were focusing in on a specific

2 grouping for an operation, you would then obviously

3 become more familiar with that grouping and that is how

4 it sort of went really, in surges.

5 Q. Would you have been able to recognise, for example,

6 Colin Duffy?

7 A. If he was in that target set or an associate of that

8 target set, then yes.

9 Q. What did you know about him at this stage, 1998 to 1999?

10 A. Only that he was a suspected member of PIRA. He was not

11 one of our targets, so again we would have an awareness

12 of him, but that is it.

13 Q. Would you have been aware of the police interest in him?

14 A. I was aware that he was a police target, and that's it.

15 Q. From outside of your work, as it were, your professional

16 work, would you have picked up from the media that he

17 was represented by Rosemary Nelson?

18 A. No, not until after the event -- Rosemary Nelson was

19 killed.

20 Q. Then it became apparent?

21 A. Then it was mentioned, yes.

22 Q. A number of witnesses have said that her representation

23 of him was quite high profile because he was involved

24 with a number of prosecutions which attracted a fair

25 amount of media attention. Would that not have been

 

 

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1 something that passed in front of you?

2 A. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of

3 Rosemary Nelson until she was killed.

4 Q. Had you heard, aside from his professional contact with

5 her, whether there was any intimation of a relationship

6 between Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Did you yourself conduct any surveillance on

9 Colin Duffy?

10 A. No, not necessarily surveillance as such. There was an

11 incident we were tasked to observe -- which I will

12 probably go into in closed session, if that's okay.

13 Q. Moving then to the Loyalists, Operation Shubr was

14 directed at Mid-Ulster LVF. Again, would you have been

15 familiar with the individuals by sight?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And I think you say in your statement that you knew, for

18 example, that Mark Fulton was the OC of the LVF

19 following Billy Wright's murder?

20 A. That's correct, yes.

21 Q. Would you have known much about his associates and his

22 plans and his general capability?

23 A. We would have known about his associates and suspected

24 other members of that particular target set and grouping

25 and, again, certain elements of their activity, yes.

 

 

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1 Q. What sort of elements?

2 A. Well, that they were sort of suspected terrorists and

3 they were sort of linked in with various attacks that

4 had happened.

5 Q. Now, Operation Shubr we can find at bundle 546, indeed

6 it starts at the first page, if we could turn to that,

7 please, which is page RNI-546-001 (displayed). You can

8 see from this that it is a Prism document, so I can

9 assume that it wasn't created or necessarily seen by you

10 or your unit?

11 A. No.

12 Q. It says, "Title: Operation Shubr, 98/63" and I think

13 from what the evidence is that we received yesterday,

14 that implies that its the 63rd operation in 1998. The

15 origin is TCG and it has a particular inspector whose

16 name has been redacted. If we go overleaf, there we can

17 see pro forma detail of what the operation is about.

18 The intelligence case states simply:

19 "Mid-Ulster LVF have some form of terrorist activity

20 planned for the near future."

21 Can I ask you, this document appears to be dated

22 about April 1998. Would you have started in your

23 probationary post by then?

24 A. I think it was about May time I started.

25 Q. So this would have geared up just before you came in?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. But would you have been aware of it as part of the

3 portfolio?

4 A. Not until I got out there.

5 Q. So later in the year?

6 A. Retrospectively, I would have been made aware of this

7 grouping, but not at this particular instance.

8 Q. And in terms of the information that we can see in the

9 intelligence case -- as I say, it is quite a short and

10 non-detailed statement -- would that have been all you

11 had or would that have been supplemented by

12 a conversation with TCG to sort of flesh it out?

13 A. No, that's pretty much what we would get in most

14 instances.

15 Q. And it says there:

16 "Aims of operation (objectives): surveillance to

17 identify individuals involved, possible targets."

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Again, as simple as that?

20 A. "Individuals involved" -- the decision whether or not

21 they were possible targets probably wouldn't have been

22 down to us. We wouldn't necessarily have been given

23 that much.

24 Q. When it says Mid-Ulster LVF, you would have had to have

25 worked out who that was?

 

 

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1 A. We knew who that was. That was Mark Fulton.

2 Q. That would have been Mark Fulton and his associates?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. "Possible targets" is pretty vague. How would you go

5 about fulfilling the remit of assessing possible

6 targets?

7 A. Basically by reporting on what you saw and then feeding

8 that in to the RUC, and then they would then, I assume,

9 take that raw data and get names, addresses, I don't

10 know.

11 Q. Were you expected to exercise some sort of judgment when

12 you saw things, in that some things you presumably saw

13 were pretty routine things, such as washing cars, taking

14 people to school, that kind of thing, and other things

15 were a bit more suspicious? Did you exercise a judgment

16 and convey that to the RUC, TCG in your reports?

17 A. [Redacted]

18 [Redacted]

19 [Redacted]

20 [Redacted]

21 [Redacted]

22 [Redacted]

23 [Redacted]

24 Q. Receiving a tasking form like this, what degree of

25 urgency does it have? Obviously it says "planning and

 

 

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1 attack for the near future". Does that mean you would

2 ordinarily get straight out there and see what was

3 going on?

4 A. More or less, yes, you wouldn't crash out straight away,

5 you would check resources, et cetera. If there was no

6 immediate threat to life, an attack was literally

7 imminent and a target was named, then it could be

8 a matter of hours before we deployed.

9 Q. Would targets sometimes be named in these sorts of

10 tasking sheets?

11 A. Yes, if there was a threat against an individual.

12 Q. And was it sometimes also the case that you would be

13 told of the individual's identity specifically verbally,

14 whereas it might not find its way on to the written form

15 like this?

16 A. Yes. But, for example, if they believed there is an

17 attack against the member of the RUC or what have you,

18 or a threat to their life, then we would be made aware

19 of that and we would go out and survey the protagonists.

20 Q. So receiving something like that, you wouldn't

21 necessarily make a phone call to the TCG and say, "Look,

22 who are we talking about here? Do you know who we are

23 looking at? Should I be looking out for a particular

24 suspicious activity towards a PIRA terrorist?" or

25 something like that?

 

 

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1 A. You have your LO down there anyway, so those sorts of

2 questions would be teased by the liaison officer with

3 people like B662, who was here yesterday.

4 Q. You said your yellow what, sorry?

5 A. Yes, the LO would be down there and those sorts of

6 issues would be teased out at that level.

7 Q. Thank you. Was it then left up to you to determine how

8 often you would deploy in order to fulfil this remit?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. May we look, please, at RNI-546-042 (displayed). Now,

11 this is still part of Operation Shubr. By this stage,

12 Operation Shubr has been running for many months. It

13 has been running for about eight months or so, as far as

14 we know. So you would, I think, have been involved with

15 it for a period of time considerably before this?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The date of this is February 1999 and the actual day of

18 the month has been obscured for sensitivity purposes,

19 and it has the same, broadly the same, cover sheet as

20 the document we saw before.

21 Can we look, please, at the next page (displayed)?

22 Now, again this is heavily redacted, but there is a few

23 bits which I would like to ask you about. The

24 background there is slightly different. It says:

25 "[Blank] Portadown LVF and [blank] Portadown ..."

 

 

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1 Are to attend a meeting in Belfast and the aim of it

2 is:

3 "To monitor the pair's movement from Portadown to

4 the outskirts of Belfast before handing over to

5 [blank]."

6 Now, this is within the overall ambit of

7 Operation Shubr, but it looks like it's a specific task

8 at a specific time. Is that how things sometimes

9 worked? You had these longer portfolio, operations

10 within your portfolio which had a long-term remit and

11 then it would get activated by TCG in relation to

12 specific intelligence that they wanted bottoming out?

13 A. If some specific intelligence came in, they could

14 redirect us on to a specific meet, as in this example

15 here.

16 Q. You can see the results there. Is that broadly speaking

17 the kind of precis which you would have produced and

18 which would have been transcribed by your headquarters

19 and been passed straight over?

20 A. Very similar.

21 Q. Are there any significant differences?

22 A. No.

23 Q. No?

24 A. No.

25 Q. And you can see at the bottom of the page just as an

 

 

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1 example that some of the comments that you are making

2 there are to do with, in brackets, the nature of the

3 individuals, for example, you can see in the penultimate

4 line in parenthesis (LVF associate/Drugs). Now, is that

5 your comment in effect on the individual or is that

6 something that has been added in by somebody else?

7 A. That sort of information could be on MACER for certain

8 individuals, so -- as a guide. So we could have

9 extracted that from MACER and put it on or it could have

10 been put on in hindsight, whoever this individual is, I

11 don't know.

12 Q. What I'm trying to establish really is whether in

13 producing the report you would put in brackets who you

14 are looking at based on your own knowledge of the

15 protagonists?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. I'll turn now to number RNI-546-055, please, which is

18 two pages on. Now, this is a document dated March 1999.

19 Again, it has the same cover sheet and it is within the

20 Operation Shubr ambit.

21 This document, I should say, is dated from before

22 Rosemary Nelson's death and it is the first of two which

23 I'm going to show you which date from that period of

24 time. Let us go overleaf, please.

25 Now, again the background is very similar:

 

 

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1 "[Blank] Portadown LVF and [somebody else] Portadown

2 LVF are to attend a meeting possibly in Belfast on

3 [blank] March 1999."

4 And again, your unit are being tasked to monitor

5 their movements to the outskirts of Belfast. Can you

6 remember any more about this particular operation and

7 what may have triggered it than what is recorded there?

8 A. On this date?

9 Q. Yes.

10 A. No, I can't remember. Apart from what I read on here,

11 it doesn't ring any particular bells.

12 Q. Would you have known, for example, that the meeting was

13 to do with drugs or to do with munitions or just to do

14 with a social call?

15 A. They wouldn't have sent us there on a social call. They

16 would have sent us there for a reason, and generally it

17 would have been either for a high profile meeting or

18 a meeting out of the ordinary, or the transfer of

19 munitions, that sort of thing. That's our remit. That

20 is why we would have been tasked on such a meeting.

21 Q. Would you necessarily have known that in advance?

22 A. We could have done. Not all the time. It is quite

23 random, what we were exposed to, but it is not unheard

24 of to have been told that.

25 Q. Again, on this document that extra bit of information to

 

 

153

 


1 do with the purpose of the meeting doesn't appear on the

2 face of the document.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Could that have been something which you would have

5 heard about from your oral discussion with TCG? I say

6 "you" in the broader sense of your unit?

7 A. Can I just clarify, it wasn't on here but they would

8 actually tell us verbally rather than submit it on

9 paper?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. That would occasionally happen depending on the

12 relationship with the policeman on duty, yes.

13 Q. In relation to this specific operation at the beginning

14 of March 1999, you don't remember any additional

15 information over and above what we can see there?

16 A. No.

17 Q. The next one I would like to look at is on

18 page RNI-546-057, please? Now, again, this is the

19 beginning of March 1999 and I may clarify that this is

20 a document that is dated from before Rosemary Nelson's

21 death, which is on 15 March. Overleaf again, please.

22 The same briefing. It is a slightly different date, I

23 can assure you that, it is not exactly the same

24 document. In effect, were TCG here getting you to do

25 the same job until something interesting happened?

 

 

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1 A. Yes. I mean, that's quite common. When you work in

2 these sort of groupings -- I will probably elaborate on

3 that in a closed session as to how that sort of thing

4 would come around.

5 Q. Can you assist us on this? There are two separate forms

6 in relation to this. Is that simply because there are

7 two different days of surveillance that have arisen in

8 early March in response to the original request?

9 A. I mean, it could be the same request. It is just

10 that -- on a different day, so the bottom paragraph is

11 the same, but it is the same tasking. That's how it

12 looks to me.

13 Q. The same tasking, and you would have gone out again to

14 fulfil that remit?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Were you given any indication at this period -- and this

17 is early March 1999 -- that the LVF or any of its

18 members were targeting Rosemary Nelson with a view to

19 killing her?

20 A. No.

21 Q. May we look, please, at document RNI-546-059, please

22 (displayed)? Now, this is another March 1999 document,

23 again under the auspices of Operation Shubr. The date

24 is March, but this report occurs after Rosemary Nelson's

25 murder, for clarification, although the specific day is

 

 

155

 


1 redacted. May we go overleaf, please.

2 Now, the background has slightly changed here. It

3 is to do with some individuals who are said to be

4 high-ranking LVF personalities and the aim is slightly

5 different. The unit, which is you, have been tasked to

6 monitor the pair's movement around Portadown. So the

7 original request is now changed, the one we saw in the

8 last two documents, to just a broad surveillance

9 request?

10 A. Okay, yes.

11 Q. Can you remember any particular change about that? Had

12 the moment passed for the meeting which was originally

13 the subject and now you were back to sort of the usual

14 Shubr work?

15 A. I don't remember if there was anything specific about

16 that.

17 Q. And this is after Rosemary Nelson's death. Presumably

18 her death was something which came to your attention

19 because it attracted --

20 A. It was through open source, through the media, yes.

21 Q. After her death, although you wouldn't have had a formal

22 role in any investigatory capacity, would you have

23 speculated who might have been responsible?

24 A. No, no.

25 Q. You wouldn't have even considered the issue?

 

 

156

 


1 A. To be honest, no, no, we wouldn't.

2 Q. Working in Northern Ireland and working in a covert

3 capacity, if somebody is being murdered who is a prime

4 target and it appears to have been done by

5 a paramilitary, wouldn't you just naturally talk to your

6 colleagues and say, "I wonder who managed to do that"?

7 A. As I say, I wasn't aware of Rosemary Nelson until she

8 died, so I wouldn't have known that she was a prime

9 target, so it was an unfortunate VBIED that happened and

10 a solicitor was killed.

11 Q. Did it come to your attention that the LVF were

12 considered to be suspects in the murder investigation?

13 A. Only through what was in the open source, news,

14 et cetera.

15 Q. And when you heard that news, would you have connected

16 it with the fact at that you have had them under

17 surveillance during a very similar period of time?

18 A. Not necessarily. I mean, there was nothing to say that

19 it was actually Portadown LVF specifically that did the

20 attack, so we wouldn't have jumped to a conclusion like

21 that.

22 Q. Well, in fact, it is the case that the two individuals

23 that you were particularly interested in were prime

24 suspects, if I may put it that way, in the murder

25 investigation. Were you aware of that specifically?

 

 

157

 


1 A. No.

2 Q. Would you ordinarily have expected to have any role in

3 passing your information, your surveillance information

4 to a murder investigation to CID?

5 A. Everything went straight to TCG (South) and that was the

6 way we played it.

7 Q. Did your unit have any discussions with TCG (South)

8 about whether it would be appropriate to tell the senior

9 management of the murder investigation about

10 Operation Shubr?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Did it occur to you that it could be relevant?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Why not?

15 A. Sorry, I'm just trying to recall the whole sort of

16 events and sequence of things. I mean, it is not

17 something that we would actually get involved with or

18 involved ourselves in. We had a very specific focused

19 role and that is what we tended to do. So we tried to

20 remain as objective as possible. So that sort of thing

21 we just didn't get involved in. We just focused on the

22 task at hand. It sounds quite callous, but that's the

23 way we worked.

24 Q. Would there not have been a concern, for example, that

25 if the murder investigation were looking into the LVF,

 

 

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1 whom you still had a operation running against, because

2 Shubr continued for the whole of 1999, possibly longer,

3 that there may be a problem with different people

4 looking into them at the same time? They may be trying

5 to gather intelligence in their way, you are doing

6 surveillance operations. So there is a professional

7 consideration there, isn't there?

8 A. That would be down to the TCG. The name alludes to the

9 tasking coordination group, so any operation working in

10 that area, whether it be Green Army, overt police in

11 uniform or covert side of it goes through the tasking

12 and coordination group. The tasking and coordination

13 group are aware of all operational activity, so any

14 deconfliction would be done at a senior RUC level. So

15 again, we were out of the picture with regards to that.

16 Q. And that's to avoid in colloquial terms the blue-on-blue

17 situation?

18 A. Or any other considerations the police might have, you

19 know, whether for legal reasons or what have you, I

20 won't speculate. But that's what tasking coordination

21 is all about.

22 Q. It may have been their responsibility to have sorted

23 that out, but did you discover that that was an issue

24 for the TCG in relation to Operation Shubr?

25 A. How do you mean?

 

 

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1 Q. Did they bring it to your attention, the fact that some

2 changes had to be made to the methodology of your

3 surveillance operation?

4 A. No.

5 Q. They didn't?

6 A. No.

7 Q. So there was no mention to you by TCG that the LVF were

8 a target for the investigation by the murder team?

9 A. No, not that I can remember. There was nothing direct

10 or official, no.

11 Q. In relation to the timing of the operation in March, we

12 have looked at two deployments before her death,

13 Rosemary Nelson's death, and we have looked at one

14 deployment afterwards. Can you assist on whether, to

15 the best of your recollection, there were any other

16 deployments in that period?

17 A. Into the Portadown LVF area?

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. It is a long time ago and without actually seeing the

20 day-to-day log or document precis then I can't remember.

21 Q. Would a precis always be produced, a written report

22 always be produced for TCG in relation to every item of

23 surveillance that you conducted?

24 A. Yes. Everything we did was sent to our headquarters,

25 they would precis it, forward it on and then that was

 

 

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1 all sent to RUC Knock and then disseminated from there.

2 So the police would have a hard copy of every single day

3 of surveillance carried out by the unit.

4 Q. May I ask you whether your unit deliberately avoided

5 undertaking surveillance of the LVF in the weekend

6 preceding Rosemary Nelson's murder in order to

7 facilitate the planting of a device on her car?

8 A. No.

9 Q. Were you instructed by TCG to avoid undertaking such

10 surveillance for any reason at all?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Did your unit in any other way assist the perpetrators

13 of the bomb?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Those are my questions for the purposes of the open

16 session. Do you have anything you would like to say?

17 A. No, I'm fine, thank you.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: We will now break and then go into closed

19 session. Anyone in the public area and any legal

20 representative not entitled to be in the closed session

21 should, please, leave the chamber. The chamber,

22 including the public area, will be closed to you for the

23 closed hearing. Those legal representatives entitled to

24 be in the closed hearing should return here in 20

25 minutes, please.

 

 

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1 Mr [name redacted], before the witness leaves, would you,

2 please, confirm that all the cameras have been switched

3 off?

4 MR [name redacted]: Yes, sir, they have.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

6 We will adjourn until just after 25 to five.

7 (4.16 pm)

8 (Short adjournment)

9 (4.35 pm)

10 (Closed session)

11 (5.33 pm)

12 (The hearing adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

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MR CHRIS ALBISTON (sworn) ........................ 1
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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 1
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Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN .............. 124
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A681 (affirmed) .................................. 130
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Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 130
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