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Full Hearings

Hearing: 5th November 2008, day 71

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

on Wednesday, 5 November 2008
commencing at 10.15 am

Day 71









1 Wednesday, 5 November 2008

2 (10.15 am)

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

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

5 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

7 screen closed?

8 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

10 and securely fastened?

11 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (name redacted), can you please confirm that the

17 two witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

18 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

20 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

22 Bring the witness in, please.

23 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

24 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

25 switched back on.





1 S284 (affirmed)

2 Questions by MR SKELTON

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

4 Yes, Mr Skelton?

5 MR SKELTON: Now, for the purpose of this Inquiry, you are

6 known as witness S284. Your statement can be found at

7 page RNI-844-077; that is the first page of it

8 (displayed). If we go through to page RNI-844-027

9 (displayed), we can find the final page and there is the

10 date, 12 November 2007. Your signature has been

11 redacted, but do you recall signing that?

12 A. I do.

13 Q. Thank you. If we go back to the first page, please, you

14 say there that you joined the Security Service in 1983?

15 A. That's correct.

16 Q. And from April 1997 to June 2000, you held a management

17 post within what's known as A Branch in

18 Northern Ireland?

19 A. That's also correct.

20 Q. Prior to that, you mention that you had been an agent

21 runner and a desk officer within the Assessments Group?

22 A. That's true.

23 Q. Was it standard for Security Service officers to rotate

24 within the different branches or sections of

25 Northern Ireland departments?





1 A. Yes, it was. I think it was all about developing

2 capability and understanding of the situation in

3 Northern Ireland.

4 Q. So it follows from that that you were reasonably

5 conversant with the broad spectrum of the Service's work

6 across the Province?

7 A. I would like to think that I was, yes.

8 Q. May I ask, are you still a member of the Security

9 Service?

10 A. Yes, I am.

11 Q. Turning to your role in A Branch, I think you summarise

12 this in pithy terms in your statement in paragraph 1 by

13 saying that you were concerned with the:

14 "... installation, maintenance and the extraction of

15 technical devices in Northern Ireland."

16 There are a few questions I would like to ask you

17 about that, if I may. First of all, were you solely

18 concerned with devices installed pursuant to RUC

19 Special Branch applications or did you have your own

20 devices in Northern Ireland?

21 A. No, it was the former.

22 Q. Were all of those devices developed and constructed by

23 the Security Service?

24 A. Yes, they were.

25 Q. Did you also install them?





1 A. Yes, we did.

2 Q. And maintain them?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. And did the RUC Special Branch retain any independent

5 capability to install technical devices in properties?

6 A. Not in respect of the terrorist threat.

7 Q. So did Special Branch have any capability in respect of

8 non-terrorist work, given that they were a terrorist

9 gathering agency?

10 A. I think there were elements where there was an RUC

11 capability in that area, but that it was not used

12 against the terrorist targets.

13 Q. Can we assume that you are referring to CID most

14 probably there, then?

15 A. This is an area that I'm not completely familiar with, I

16 wasn't completely familiar with, but my understanding

17 was that the capability there would have been used

18 against criminal targets, yes, what we might have termed

19 ordinary criminal targets.

20 Q. What was the position in the rest of the United Kingdom?

21 Did the Security Service supply all Special Branch

22 devices elsewhere?

23 A. The situation in the rest of the United Kingdom was

24 obviously not the same as in Northern Ireland and -- I

25 think that's taking me into territory that I'm not





1 altogether familiar with at the time. My focus was very

2 much on Northern Ireland, so I would be reluctant to

3 give you a definitive view about how things worked on

4 the mainland of GB.

5 Q. Are you unwilling because of the sensitivity or rather

6 because of the limits of your knowledge?

7 A. I think the latter. I'm just not confident enough to

8 give you a definitive answer on that.

9 Q. The warranty application process, would an application

10 for a warrant for a technical device ordinarily

11 originate from a local Special Branch office?

12 A. Yes, it would.

13 Q. So there weren't higher levels of the RUC, for example,

14 the IMG or the TCG which would initiate an application?

15 It always came from the grass roots level?

16 A. No, they could do, but the vast majority were grass

17 roots applications which worked through the system --

18 through the RUC system in a hierarchical way.

19 So it would have required approval at a variety of

20 different points within the RUC system before it went

21 formally into the warranty process.

22 Q. And put in fairly simple terms, was the purpose of such

23 applications to gain tactical or strategic intelligence

24 on a group of individuals or a single personality?

25 A. There could be a range of requirements that were met.





1 So devices were there to meet a very tactical

2 requirement, others were there because the aspiration

3 was to get strategic information. So, you know, there

4 were very much -- it very much varied from operation to

5 operation.

6 Q. When you use the words "tactical and strategic" what do

7 you mean?

8 A. What do I mean? Tactical is clearly about giving

9 insights into the activities of individual units of

10 terrorist groupings that were then active in

11 Northern Ireland, who they might have been targeting,

12 where they were getting equipment from, that sort of

13 thing. The strategic end of things was more about,

14 well, what were the long-term aspirations of the group

15 in question.

16 Clearly they are not absolutely definitive lines and

17 there were shadings. Some operations were capable of

18 providing intelligence on both areas of interest.

19 Q. And the application process, I think, originated, as you

20 say, at the lower level of Special Branch and it then

21 progresses all the way through the Special Branch

22 management to the Head of Special Branch.

23 At what stage would your team, the technical team,

24 become involved in looking at an application?

25 A. At a very early stage.





1 Q. We will see in due course that there is a particular

2 application which we are interested in in relation to

3 a property owned by Rosemary Nelson. Would you have

4 seen that application when it was first originated from

5 Special Branch, in its full form?

6 A. No, I mean, the application wouldn't have appeared in

7 the form in which it appears in the evidence here today

8 until quite late in the process.

9 So in the early stages the -- we would simply have

10 had engagements. A member of my team would have been

11 talking to members of the RUC, who would have said we

12 have an interest in an operation against this particular

13 individual or this particular address, and the

14 discussion then would have engaged with, well, what do

15 you hope to achieve from this particular operation, what

16 might it give you that other sources of intelligence

17 might not, how easy would it be to achieve this in, you

18 know -- in all senses, all operational senses of that.

19 And that would have been an initial discussion,

20 which we would then have taken back and sort of formed

21 a view on: Did it make sense from an A Branch

22 perspective, was it necessary and proportionate --

23 because clearly all of these operations were costly

24 enterprises.

25 Q. There are a number of questions I would like to ask you





1 to break down some of the points you have raised in your

2 answers. The first one is really building on a point

3 you make in your statement. It is paragraph 2:

4 "Our job was to tease out the RUC intelligence

5 case."

6 It seems to carry an implication that the RUC might

7 be slightly reticent in telling you about what they

8 wanted a device for. Was that something that was

9 apparent to you?

10 A. I think it was not necessarily a deliberate reticence,

11 but sometimes the RUC officers concerned wouldn't

12 necessarily know what we needed to demonstrate that the

13 proposal for an operation had crossed the necessity and

14 proportionality threshold for us.

15 So we were just trying to really sort of explore and

16 to test the case: did this really make sense as a costly

17 and potentially risky operation.

18 Q. Were there occasions where you felt they were being

19 somewhat evasive about the real purpose or objective of

20 the device?

21 A. None that I would have characterised in quite those

22 terms. I think sometimes, you know, we -- you know, we

23 would struggle to pin down precisely what they wanted to

24 achieve, but I can't recall any where I felt they were

25 being deliberately evasive.





1 Q. Now, the initial discussions which you mentioned about

2 an application, may they have started before anything

3 had been put in writing, just through a conversation

4 between, say, yourself or one of your junior team

5 members and a member of the RUC?

6 A. Sorry, I'm -- I missed the first bit of the question.

7 Q. You mentioned that you had discussions quite early on

8 with Special Branch about the need for the job and its

9 proportionality, et cetera. Might those discussions

10 have taken place before anything had been put in writing

11 by the RUC?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Was that the ordinary process?

14 A. By and large it was, yes, it was quite informal in the

15 early stages.

16 Q. And without naming their specific designations, were

17 those people that had discussions part of your team,

18 your junior team members and specific RUC staff?

19 A. Yes, I mean, there was a -- our aim was to maintain

20 dialogue with individuals in all of the RUC teams,

21 regionally and at Headquarters, that were involved in

22 this sort of work.

23 We would have fairly, you know, regular meetings

24 with them and it was important that we maintained, you

25 know, a consistent and -- consistent dialogue. In the





1 early stages, there would have been conversations at

2 a point where it was clear that there was something of

3 substance and there was real sense that an operational

4 proposal was likely to end up crossing the threshold,

5 then it would be committed to paper, probably in the

6 form of an email going back to -- going back to

7 A Branch.

8 Q. And the determination as to whether or not it reached

9 the threshold was a determination to be made by the

10 Security Service?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And you mention in your statement the issues of

13 necessity, proportionality and feasibility, by which I

14 think you mean technical feasibility. Could you expand

15 a little bit on those three aspects of your assessment?

16 A. Yes. I mean, we were engaged in management of risk.

17 Potentially these devices could deliver very significant

18 benefits for the RUC. Our focus was on the costs

19 involved in delivering those benefits and the costs were

20 clearly the actual financial cost of developing a device

21 that was fit for purpose, the cost of deploying A Branch

22 staff and the subsequent cost of maintaining the device

23 through its operational life, all of which could vary

24 according to circumstance and environment.

25 Q. And in order to determine the need and proportionality





1 of a case, presumably you needed to be fully appraised

2 of the justifying intelligence and the reasons why the

3 RUC thought it would be helpful?

4 A. Yes, the potential. And clearly this was always the

5 case, that it was a hypothetical dividend that was being

6 talked about. But I think we were reasonably adept at

7 identifying where -- you know, our familiarity with the

8 environment in Northern Ireland meant that we were

9 pretty adept at being able to identify the stronger

10 cases. And, you know, quite clearly where there were

11 cases that were weaker or where the cost of an operation

12 was counting strongly against it, we would be

13 discouraging the RUC from pursuing that particular case,

14 either with us, A Branch, or through the warranty

15 process, by putting a warranty submission through, as

16 you mentioned earlier, up to HSB and then on from there

17 to the DCI.

18 Q. Can one assume that by the time matters get put in

19 writing by the local Special Branch office, that to some

20 degree there has already been some approval by the

21 Security Service of the operation?

22 A. That's correct, yes.

23 Q. And would you have a role in writing the application

24 itself?

25 A. No. The warranty application?





1 Q. Yes.

2 A. No.

3 Q. At what stage did the DCI's representative become

4 involved?

5 A. At the point at which the application -- the application

6 actually was committed into the system. Although

7 increasingly at this time, with the -- obviously the

8 political sensitivities of Northern Ireland at this time

9 and the potential impact that our operations could have,

10 there was more engagement, more dialogue between

11 A Branch on my side, also, I suspect, the RUC, and that

12 dialogue was with the DCI and his team.

13 Q. I'll turn in a moment, I think, to the issue of the

14 changing climate in the late 1990s, which you were

15 adverting to there, but I just want to understand

16 precisely how the application worked.

17 A dialogue would be initiated between Special Branch

18 and your team. Some form of approval would be given to

19 the application proceeding and it would be put in

20 writing by the local Special Branch office. It would

21 then pass up through the RUC Special Branch chain, which

22 would be a regional chain, to the Head of

23 Special Branch. Is it at that point, when the Head of

24 Special Branch says in a memo, "I approve of this", that

25 the DCI Rep becomes involved and considerations are





1 given to whether or not the warrant should be put before

2 the Secretary of State?

3 A. That's absolutely correct.

4 Q. And the DCI Rep, as his name implies, his job is really

5 to do the initial sift for the DCI who is doing the job

6 of presenting the case?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. What is the role of the Permanent Undersecretary from

9 the Northern Ireland Office in this? Does he have

10 a role in assessing the warrants and advising the

11 Secretary of State on proportionality, political

12 ramifications, et cetera?

13 A. I don't think I am able to answer that. I don't think

14 I have the knowledge.

15 Q. Liaison with the RUC. You mention in your statement --

16 and this we can find in paragraph 2 -- that your primary

17 points of contact were the Head of Special Branch, who I

18 think was an assistant chief constable, and you also had

19 some form of contact with the regional heads of

20 Special Branch. What sort of matters were you

21 discussing with them?

22 A. It was looking at less the detail of individual

23 operations and more about the overall shape of our joint

24 endeavours. Were we collectively focusing in the right

25 areas, was the resource, which was limited, being used





1 to best effect. How did we reduce the vulnerabilities,

2 how did we maximise the benefits.

3 So it was generally -- my aim was to keep that at

4 a reasonably strategic level and not to sort of overlap

5 unduly with the more detailed nuts and bolts engagement

6 that members of my team had with members of the RUC at

7 regional level.

8 Q. Now, towards the beginning of your evidence, you

9 describe the differences between tactical and strategic

10 intelligence and the fact that they could occasionally

11 be similar, and the fact that devices such as this could

12 occasionally have tactical and strategic purposes.

13 From your perspective, did your Assessments Group

14 also have an angle into this process in that they could

15 advise you that strategic requirements were also needed

16 for their purposes?

17 A. Yes, indeed. There was -- obviously the aim was to

18 avoid working in a siloed way. So there was obviously

19 a continuing exchange between Assessments Group and

20 ourselves about the overall direction of the counter

21 terrorist activity at the time.

22 And again, you know, we would increasingly, as

23 a stronger political dimension emerged in the

24 Northern Ireland environment -- we were getting, you

25 know, the context, if you like, from Assessments Group





1 of that, which again assisted our risk management

2 discussions with the RUC.

3 Q. So when an application comes from the RUC with

4 a particular tactical objective, would you discuss it

5 with the Assessments Group so that they could say to

6 you, "In fact, we have a strategic objective as well in

7 relation to this area which strengthens the case"?

8 A. I think it would be hard to sort of give you

9 a definitive answer to that. It would very much depend

10 on the operational proposal, but there would be

11 circumstances in which, I think, we would perhaps want

12 to validate what we had heard from the RUC by having

13 a discussion with Assessments Group and to get their

14 take on, you know, where a certain operation might

15 fit in.

16 And of course we had to take account of the

17 sensitivities of the operation and sometimes we would

18 obviously not necessarily want to be talking freely

19 about the -- you know, the location or the identity of

20 the individuals that we were looking to install a device

21 against.

22 Q. When you said validate, I mean, might there be

23 circumstances where the RUC said, "Look, we are

24 interested in this because we have this intelligence

25 that we want to build upon", but you go to your





1 Assessments Group and they say in fact they have already

2 got the answers to this, or "We are not really

3 interested in that, therefore we don't really see that

4 as being an important issue for us"?

5 A. There would be an element of that to it, but I think it

6 is important to recognise that at this time the RUC had

7 the intelligence lead in Northern Ireland and we would

8 have to defer, if they believed that a particular

9 operation would meet a gap in their coverage -- and then

10 of course we could test it. But ultimately we were not

11 in a position to gainsay that particular statement.

12 But it always helped to have another view on

13 coverage in a particular area, and that's what

14 Assessment Group could help with.

15 Q. Did the Security Service have access to the product from

16 the installed devices?

17 A. By and large, no, we didn't.

18 Q. In what circumstances did you?

19 A. Occasionally where product was relevant to the Security

20 Service's remit; so, in other words, things that might

21 have had a bearing on activity outside of

22 Northern Ireland. That would of course be passed

23 across.

24 Perhaps we would see material in -- in support of

25 another application. That would be seen. Quite a lot





1 of material would -- we would sort of see -- it would be

2 fed into the system indirectly. In other words, we

3 wouldn't necessarily see raw material.

4 Q. In other words, it gets disguised. Its provenance gets

5 disguised in a RUC report where you can't tell exactly

6 where it has come from?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. In your statement at paragraph 8, which we can find on

9 page RNI-844-020 (displayed), you say that:

10 "With one exception of which I am aware, the RUC did

11 not provide us with the raw product from devices or

12 a systematic summary of the intelligence dividend."

13 Without explaining any sensitive details, in

14 relation to that one exception, can you give us an idea

15 of what you mean?

16 A. What I think I mean is that we did not see a significant

17 amount of raw material from the range of devices that we

18 had installed in Northern Ireland at this time.

19 Q. What I'm trying to explore is the nature of this

20 exception that you are adverting to without, as I say,

21 revealing any sensitive details?

22 A. I think I might struggle to answer that question.

23 Q. Then we will move on.

24 In paragraph 8, which we are looking at on screen,

25 you mention that there was some tensions occasionally





1 between yourselves and the RUC. One of the things that

2 you mention is a lack of consistent and accurate

3 assessment of the value of the product from the devices

4 being a frustration for you and your management?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Could you expand on that, please?

7 A. It goes back to what I was saying earlier. This was

8 a costly and risky enterprises for A Branch, not lightly

9 undertaken, and that wasn't just the actual installation

10 of devices but the ongoing maintenance of those devices

11 was always resource-intensive.

12 And I think in a climate, again, which was becoming

13 riskier for a range of reasons, the political dimension

14 being particularly prominent in that, we, I think, were

15 increasingly looking for a tangible demonstration from

16 the RUC that the devices that we were operating in

17 Northern Ireland were really worth all of the effort and

18 all of the risk that we were putting in to them.

19 Q. In order to reach that point, you need to actually have

20 a fairly good view of the product, don't you, to know

21 what is coming out and how useful it is and whether or

22 not it is, as you put it in this paragraph, quality

23 intelligence?

24 A. Clearly that would have been one way of doing it, but I

25 think a systematic and rigorous summary of the benefits





1 that had come from the intelligence from these devices

2 would have taken us some way down the line to

3 reassurance, and I didn't actually in this period

4 achieve that.

5 Q. Did you yourselves try and analyse it; in other words,

6 to audit the value of your devices on an ongoing basis?

7 A. I don't think we could have done so because we simply

8 did not have consistent access to the product of the

9 devices.

10 Q. So once they were set up, how did you monitor whether or

11 not they were worthwhile and proportionate?

12 A. That was done in a two-way manner. First of all, going

13 back to those ongoing discussions between members of my

14 team and the RUC teams that notionally owned the devices

15 or certainly owned the product of those devices, so we

16 would expect -- we would go through on a regular basis

17 the devices that that particular area owned and would

18 expect some sort of summary from the RUC about how they

19 were performing. Were they delivering usable

20 intelligence?

21 Occasionally, where there had been particularly

22 successful intelligence, then we would get to hear about

23 it, Head of Special Branch or one of the regional heads

24 of Special Branch would probably call me and say, "You

25 will want to know this has been particularly useful",





1 but that tended to be the exception rather than the

2 rule.

3 Q. But when your team are asking the question, "Is it

4 providing quality intelligence, this device?" you are

5 not simply expecting the answer "yes" from the RUC

6 because they probably would say that in most cases,

7 wouldn't they?

8 A. That's where the discussion and the challenge -- that's

9 where the challenge lay and that's why it was important

10 that members of my team had a good and frank

11 relationship with the RUC. And it was a regular

12 engagement and I expected members of my team to push the

13 RUC hard on, you know, exactly what the devices were

14 producing. As I have said, we did not ever get chapter

15 and verse, but I think we certainly got beyond just

16 getting a view, yes, this is a super device, let's keep

17 a going. We would have expected a lot more.

18 And just to complete the second part of how we kept

19 the pressure on, this, again, was through the warranty

20 process. Warrants came up for revalidation and that was

21 an opportunity where both A Branch and the DCI's team

22 could apply some pressure to the RUC to demonstrate in

23 a more formal way that the device in question, the

24 device for which a warrant existed, was continuing to be

25 justified on --





1 Q. In that revalidation document, they would say, in

2 summary, "It has provided us with X, Y and Z and that's

3 useful for these reasons"?

4 A. They would.

5 Q. You mention in paragraph 9 of your statement the

6 political sensitivities that had started to arise during

7 the late 1990s, and I presume what you mean by that is

8 that your potential targets were starting to become more

9 politicised?

10 A. Not necessarily individual targets, but the community

11 within which -- within which the targets were members

12 was becoming more politicised, yes, certainly.

13 Q. And was that something which was impressed upon you by

14 the Northern Ireland Office and possibly higher up, at

15 Downing Street?

16 A. Not to us directly. I mean, that is -- those sort of

17 concerns would have been relayed to me and through me to

18 A Branch senior management through the DCI's team.

19 Q. Sorry, you gave the answer that it was something which

20 you may have appreciated yourselves, but what I want to

21 clarify is whether or not, in your warranty

22 relationship, there may have been more concern from the

23 Secretary of State, for example, that warrants couldn't

24 proceed if they could compromise the political process?

25 A. Again, it is important to state that A Branch and my





1 element of A Branch in Northern Ireland was not actively

2 engaged in the warranty process, either in the initial

3 application or in the revalidation process.

4 We obviously were aware when they were going through

5 and would see that as a means of ensuring that the

6 devices were -- remained appropriate.

7 Q. So the questions I have asked are for this afternoon's

8 witness more than you?

9 A. Yes, I think that's correct.

10 Q. Did you consider that the RUC were less appreciative of

11 this aspect of the application process, the political

12 ramifications, if I may put it that way?

13 A. I think it took longer for the RUC to appreciate the

14 political dimension than it did for us. I think there

15 was a view that, particularly in the early stages, this

16 was all a -- the political process was probably not

17 going to succeed and, you know, giving too much weight

18 to political considerations represented opportunities

19 lost for when, you know, a full-blown terrorist campaign

20 resumed.

21 Q. So there was a tension here between their tactical

22 wishes and the more political consequences which you,

23 the Security Service, were concerned with?

24 A. Initially, yes, but a lot of work went in both at my

25 level and also, again, more pertinently, at the DCI





1 level to sensitise the RUC to the implications of this

2 work and the wider ramifications of compromise.

3 Q. The result, it appears from paragraph 9 of your

4 statement, is that A Branch raised the threshold for

5 applications proceeding?

6 A. Yes, I think that's correct.

7 Q. Now, given that the RUC had primacy for intelligence

8 during this period, is this not a slightly patronising

9 attitude towards the organisation from the Security

10 Service's point of view?

11 A. No, I don't think it is because I don't think that it

12 was an absolute threshold. I think it -- as I said

13 earlier, it involved a lot of dialogue and there was

14 certainly no sense that certain areas, certain target

15 areas, were completely off limits. So if the

16 intelligence case was strong enough, then A Branch would

17 be prepared to consider looking to install a device.

18 So I don't think it was patronising. I think rather

19 the reverse. I think we were looking for a mature and

20 grown-up dialogue with the RUC.

21 Q. You have described that there was a period of transition

22 for them when the strategic side came in to their

23 thinking a bit more, but during this period they

24 nevertheless had primacy. So isn't it surprising that

25 that strategic thinking was not already there and didn't





1 require your assistance?

2 A. To some extent, a lot of the input that was coming in

3 here was on the political side for which, you know, the

4 RUC probably didn't have primacy or full visibility of

5 what was happening.

6 Q. Now, there is a particular application which the Inquiry

7 is concerned with, called Operation Indus. That, it

8 appears to us, was initiated at around the beginning

9 of August 1998, and the first mention we have of it was

10 in the regional Tasking Coordination Group for the South

11 Region, which one of your officers, I think, would

12 routinely have attended in order to discuss proposals,

13 et cetera?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Can we look, please, at the RUC's application, which we

16 can find at RNI-543-010 (displayed)? If we go through

17 to page RNI-5430-13, please (displayed)?

18 Now, this is the substantive application. Its

19 subject matter is "Application for technical attack on

20 the home of Colin Francis Duffy, Deeny Drive, Lurgan."

21 This application is drafted by a detective from

22 Lurgan in South Region Special Branch.

23 If we go back to page RNI-543-012, please

24 (displayed), we can see that there is a memo from the

25 Detective Inspector which approves the substantive





1 application, and it goes up to the Detective

2 Superintendent of South Region West. And if we go to

3 page RNI-5430-011 (displayed), we can see that the

4 Detective from South West then sends it up towards the

5 regional head of E Department, South Region, who would

6 have been the Chief Superintendent. And then the very

7 first document which we saw, which is page RNI-543-010

8 (displayed), it finally gets signed off by the Chief

9 Superintendent, the regional head, and goes up to the

10 Assistant Chief Constable.

11 Now, is that the classic route for such an

12 application?

13 A. Yes, it is.

14 Q. As I say, the subject of the operation was a technical

15 attack on Deeny Drive, which was occupied by

16 Colin Duffy.

17 Now, the original date of the application is not

18 entirely clear. It seems to have been raised at the

19 beginning of August, and you can see on that document,

20 which we are looking at, that DCI Knock -- it says in

21 manuscript, "For warrant application, please". The date

22 of that is, I think, August 1998.

23 So can we assume that by the time it gets to this

24 point and is going to the DCI, there has been quite

25 a lot of discussion about it in your team?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Within the application itself, can we look, please, at

3 RNI-543-016 (displayed)? Now, this shows us one of the

4 mentions of Rosemary Nelson. You can see there, it

5 says:

6 "Duffy has been the driving force in PIRA throughout

7 North Armagh for the past ten years."

8 Then it goes on to describe his position in relation

9 to the leadership, and it then goes on in the third

10 paragraph:

11 "This role has brought Duffy into regular contact

12 with several prominent and leading PIRA members

13 throughout the entire Province and in the Republic of

14 Ireland, where he is a frequent visitor."

15 And says:

16 "[Blank] indicates he receives a number of visitors

17 to Lurgan where it is assessed that they meet in his

18 home."

19 That list includes Rosemary Nelson, we can see

20 there. I'm just taking you through to explain what the

21 application is about and then I will ask you the

22 question, but if there is anything you would like to

23 clarify in relation to the documents we have on the

24 screens, please do say so.

25 The next page I would like to look at is





1 page RNI-543-018 (displayed). We can see there that one

2 of the bits of justification, as it were, for this

3 application is the fact that false alibis have been

4 produced for the Provisional IRA by the solicitor,

5 Rosemary Nelson, and in particular it relates to an

6 incident with a married couple who were arrested for

7 possession of an IRA arsenal of weapons, about which CID

8 were briefed.

9 So Rosemary Nelson is at this stage listed in the

10 application as a visitor to the property and then as

11 someone that appears to be acting untowardly in relation

12 to the creation of false alibis.

13 Then further on, on page RNI-543-020 (displayed) --

14 and I appreciate on this page, towards the end of the

15 application, a lot of it has been redacted so we can't

16 see the context in which this remark is made, but it

17 says quite simply:

18 "Duffy and Rosemary Nelson, with whom he is having

19 a sexual relationship ..."

20 Now, I haven't taken you to every page of the

21 application, but one thing that is noticeable from it is

22 that it doesn't appear to mention that she is the owner

23 of the property. But we will see on page RNI-543-029 --

24 if we go to that, please (displayed) -- that this is one

25 of the annexed Special Branch reports that is added,





1 presumably by the Lurgan detective, in support of the

2 application. And it is a SIR, level 19, RUC

3 intelligence report dated from June 1998. If we turn

4 overleaf, please, we can see that the content of it is

5 to this effect:

6 "Colin Duffy has recently met with Rosemary Nelson

7 at Deeny Drive, Lurgan. Unaware of the exact details of

8 the meeting. It may have been in connection with the

9 buying of the dwelling at Deeny Drive."

10 So buried, as it were, within the substance of the

11 application is intelligence to link Rosemary Nelson with

12 the property?

13 A. Although not necessarily owning it.

14 Q. Not necessarily, but there is an implication that she

15 may be purchasing the property. I think that is fairly

16 clear from the text, wouldn't you say?

17 A. Or conceivably acting in a conveyancing capacity.

18 Q. Indeed. For him.

19 A. For him.

20 Q. Another passage which I would just like you to have

21 a quick look at is a particular appendix which

22 specifically relates to Rosemary Nelson, and that's at

23 page RNI-543-033 (displayed).

24 Now, this is one of several appendices which

25 describe either alleged PIRA volunteers or their





1 associates, and this is one about Rosemary Nelson in

2 particular. You can see there described in very brief

3 detail her background, where she is from, when she went

4 to university, her physical appearance. And it says in

5 the final two paragraphs:

6 "Nelson has come to the notice of this office

7 through her association with leading PIRA members in the

8 North Armagh area. She is also a legal adviser to the

9 Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition."

10 And this final sentence:

11 "Nelson uses her legal training to assist the IRA in

12 any way she can, and it is clear Nelson is a dedicated

13 Republican."

14 There are a number of questions arising from that

15 fairly brisk canter through the application, which I

16 would like to ask you. First of all, at what stage

17 would you or your team members have seen the application

18 in its entirety?

19 A. At the point at which it had been submitted to DCI Rep.

20 Q. Now, does it follow from that that you wouldn't

21 necessarily have known about the detail of it prior to

22 that point?

23 A. It is conceivable. I obviously can't comment with

24 absolute authority in this case, but certainly I think

25 we would have been, I think, particularly unpleased if





1 something that had been very pertinent to the operation

2 hadn't been declared to us prior to the submission of

3 the application.

4 Q. I haven't shown you every page of it. It is quite

5 a lengthy document and we can see there the manuscript

6 number of that particular page we are looking at is

7 page 111, just to give you an idea of the size of it.

8 But it does contain a lot of detail in the original

9 substance of the application about Colin Duffy and his

10 alleged activities. And then in the appendices and the

11 annexes, there is more detail about things that he is

12 alleged to have done based on exact reporting and then

13 little summaries of the individual personalities.

14 Would you, without necessarily having seen this

15 application, have been aware of that kind of information

16 in any event? I say "you" in the broad term of you and

17 your team.

18 A. My team would have been. And I do think it is important

19 to stress, you know, in this particular application that

20 it seems to me that the references to Rosemary Nelson

21 are a relatively small proportion of the totality of it.

22 Q. I think that's a fair point, and obviously you can

23 appreciate from my perspective I am focusing on her for

24 obvious reasons, but --

25 A. I think the context is important.





1 Q. Indeed.

2 A. And certainly the focus of my team would have been on

3 Duffy's activities with the Provisional IRA.

4 Q. But it is fair to say that she is mentioned both in the

5 substance of the application in some of the intelligence

6 reporting and then specifically as an appendix with an

7 individual description of her and her background?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And this consideration of these sorts of issues, the

10 intelligence, the individual personalities, would have

11 been the ordinary part of your assessment of the need

12 and proportionality of the application?

13 A. It would have been, yes.

14 Q. Now, the second point I would like to ask you about is

15 really the substance of some of the information about

16 Rosemary Nelson.

17 We have seen that effectively it says that she is

18 supporting the Republican movement, and it adverts to

19 particular intelligence about alibis. I follow from

20 what you have said earlier in your answers that your

21 team would have been aware of that intelligence, if not

22 prior to this, from this application?

23 A. Yes, I think at the point of the application. Again, I

24 don't recall at the time that we had focused on that

25 particular piece of information.





1 Q. Well, wasn't it unusual to have a solicitor being

2 mentioned in this context, setting aside the issue of

3 the ownership of the property, which we will come on to,

4 but nevertheless to be mentioned throughout an

5 application for a technical attack?

6 A. I think it probably was unusual, but it certainly wasn't

7 exceptional that applications would make reference to

8 people who were not full-blown members of, say, the

9 Provisional movement or any other Loyalist or

10 paramilitary group in Northern Ireland.

11 So sometimes, you know, I think in an attempt to set

12 context and to flag the totality of a target

13 individual's activity, there would be reference to

14 people. So it is not absolutely exceptional.

15 Q. Was the view expressed about Rosemary Nelson, which we

16 can see still on the page on the screen, something which

17 you were already aware of?

18 A. Which particular --

19 Q. Well, the final praise in the final sentence:

20 "It is clear Nelson is a dedicated Republican."

21 Was that something you were already aware of

22 previously?

23 A. I think it probably was. But, I mean, it didn't seem

24 particularly -- you know, to be a significant issue at

25 the time. It was just a piece of -- I think seen as





1 contextual information, something that we probably

2 needed to be aware of. But it wasn't -- it didn't feel

3 as if it was a mainstream element of the application.

4 Q. Unless you had specific information to the contrary --

5 in other words, to contradict the kind of conclusion we

6 see here and the specific reporting about her we have

7 seen earlier -- would you have accepted the RUC's view

8 of her as put in these terms?

9 A. I think these are always areas where one would take

10 account of, you know, the fact that these were very

11 tense times.

12 We were dealing here with an individual, a targeted

13 individual, in the form of Colin Duffy, who had the

14 intelligence pointing to him being involved with killing

15 RUC officers. And I think one, therefore, would have

16 tended to aim off slightly for, you know, the

17 commentary, assessment, if you like, of individuals who

18 were associated with Duffy.

19 So the fact that an individual was a Republican, the

20 fact that they had acted as a solicitor in support of

21 Duffy, would have -- you know, I think we would have

22 said we would need to sort of take the RUC's assessment

23 of that individual -- you know, we would need to look at

24 it and scrutinise it with that extra bit of effort.

25 Q. The first point I think to be made is that this didn't





1 come as a surprise to you, that this view was held of

2 her?

3 A. No, not completely.

4 Q. And, therefore, this wasn't something which you were

5 necessarily going to probe any further with them?

6 A. No, I think that's right because, as I said earlier, I

7 think our take on the application and all of our

8 discussions with the RUC about this particular operation

9 indicated that Nelson was a peripheral figure,

10 a peripheral consideration, certainly in the early

11 stages of this warrant application.

12 Q. Indeed, as I said, I haven't shown you the entire

13 application. But to be fair, she is listed as one of

14 many people who are alleged to be figures associated

15 with it. But she isn't identified as being a volunteer

16 per se; she's simply in the sort of peripheral or

17 associate category?

18 A. I think so. And in terms of what they anticipate in the

19 intelligence dividend from this operation, there was no

20 reference to what might have emerged in terms of

21 conversations between Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy.

22 Q. But based on this conclusion that we see expressed by

23 the local Special Branch officer, one could assume, can

24 you, that she is considered to be, to put it at its

25 highest, part of the enemy camp?





1 A. Yes, I mean, I think it is sort of problematic, you

2 know, in the sense of, you know, solicitors that, you

3 know, prevent, you know -- or make life difficult in

4 terms of the pursuit of, you know, criminal individuals.

5 Q. Now, without naming any other people, from your

6 perspective was she the only solicitor who would fall

7 into that category?

8 A. What, in relation to Northern Ireland or ...?

9 Q. To Northern Ireland and your experiences there. Were

10 there any other solicitors that would fall into the

11 category of someone that wasn't simply acting in the

12 ordinary legal capacity as we know it?

13 A. No, I mean, I suspect there were a number of solicitors

14 who acted -- you know, were regularly brought in to

15 defend terrorist detainees and, you know, featured in

16 quite -- quite frequently in RUC thinking.

17 Q. Well, I think the point I'm getting at really in

18 relation to Rosemary Nelson was that she wasn't simply

19 perceived as being someone representing clients in the

20 ordinary sense, but what this conclusion is saying in

21 this report is that she is actually supporting them

22 personally and, indeed, has acted to produce -- possibly

23 pervert the course of justice if that reporting is

24 correct?

25 A. If that reporting is correct, yes. I don't, again,





1 recall at the time that any of those elements featured

2 significantly in the discussions that we had with the

3 RUC at the time.

4 Q. The third aspect of this document which I would like to

5 ask you about is the alleged relationship, and we saw

6 a very short snippet that referred to that right at the

7 end of the substantive application.

8 Was that something you were already aware of as

9 well?

10 A. The snippet being?

11 Q. I think it was on page RNI-543-013 (displayed) and if we

12 scroll through to page RNI-543-020 actually, I think is

13 the actual reference. That snippet.

14 A. I'm struggling now with the passage of ten years or so

15 to recall precisely when this piece of information

16 became known to me and to my team. Certainly it wasn't

17 something that we were aware of at the very beginning of

18 the application, just as we weren't aware at the

19 beginning of the application of the fact that Nelson

20 owned the property in question.

21 Q. To help you, in paragraph 17 of your statement, which is

22 on page RNI-844-023 (displayed), you say that you

23 recalled hearing that prior to Rosemary Nelson's

24 ownership of the target property, they -- by which you

25 mean her and Colin Duffy -- had been getting together at





1 a local beauty spot?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Who did you hear that from?

4 A. I'm struggling to remember. It may have come directly

5 from a RUC officer, or I suspect more likely it came

6 from a member of my team.

7 Q. Would a member of your team have been involved with

8 seeing them at a local beauty spot together?

9 A. Absolutely not.

10 Q. So where would the originating information have come

11 from?

12 A. I can't comment. It could have come from a range of

13 sources.

14 Q. But certainly not the Security Service?

15 A. Very probably not. But, again, I can't comment with

16 authority.

17 Q. Did you accept that remark about her and her

18 relationship with Colin Duffy as being true or would you

19 have probed to see the basis for it?

20 A. I think we probably took it as being true. Again, in

21 the context of the time it didn't seem hugely

22 significant to the thrust of the case, which was

23 about -- not about Duffy's relationship with Nelson, but

24 about Duffy's relationship with the senior figures in

25 both North Armagh PIRA, but also with the wider





1 Provisional movement.

2 Q. Focusing back on the comment you make in your statement

3 about them getting together at a local beauty spot, from

4 one perspective it might be said that, given Mr Duffy

5 was a highly security-conscious individual by his own

6 admission, it may have been necessary for them to meet

7 safely out of the confines of her office or the locality

8 and to go to somewhere like that. In other words, this

9 could be based on a misunderstanding of such a meeting.

10 Is there anything that leads you to conclude that

11 the meeting at the beauty spot was necessarily to do

12 with a sexual relationship?

13 A. I can't comment with authority on that question. I

14 think the inference, which I had not questioned, was

15 that it was a personal, an intimate relationship and

16 that's why they were getting together, but ...

17 Q. Another theory might be that the relationship was

18 a malicious rumour, concocted by Special Branch officers

19 who had a particular animus against her because she had

20 made various complaints against them over a considerable

21 period of time in order to besmirch her name. Did

22 you --

23 A. I couldn't give that any credence. The reason this had

24 been raised was, again, slightly contextual information,

25 but also I think may have been around giving some idea





1 of -- there may have been operational factors basically

2 in passing this piece of information to us.

3 Q. The fourth and final aspect of the substantive

4 application I would like to ask you about is the

5 ownership of the property. When did the Security

6 Service first become aware that the owner was in fact

7 Rosemary Nelson?

8 A. I can't remember precisely when that became apparent. I

9 think it does appear in some of the paperwork, but --

10 Q. I think by the time we get to the warrant ultimately, it

11 is there because there is considerable debate. I think

12 we will deal with that in the next session. But early

13 on, it doesn't appear to be raised?

14 A. No. Certainly my recollection is that, as I said

15 previously, we hadn't been aware of the fact that Nelson

16 owned the property.

17 Q. And that would have been something you would have

18 expected to have been raised in discussions with your

19 team?

20 A. Yes, I think it would have been pertinent to that risk

21 assessment process that I talked about previously.

22 Q. Isn't it something that you would want to know right

23 from the start? If you are planning on putting a device

24 into the property, don't you want to know who owns it?

25 A. Not necessarily. It might become an operational





1 consideration, but I don't think that necessarily

2 ownership is key to our deliberations. In some

3 instances -- and this was obviously such a case -- it

4 would have been, but not in every instance.

5 Q. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, we will have a 20-minute break.

7 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you

8 please confirm that all cameras have been switched off?

9 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

11 Please escort the witness out.

12 20 to 12.

13 (11.20 am)

14 (Short break)

15 (11.41 am)

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

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

18 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: The fire doors on either side of the screen

20 closed?

21 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

23 and securely fastened?

24 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and





1 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

2 of this chamber?

3 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

5 Mr (name redacted), can you confirm, please, that the two

6 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

7 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

9 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

11 Bring the witness in, please. Do silt down.

12 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

13 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

14 switched back on.

15 Yes, Mr Skelton?

16 MR SKELTON: Before the break, we were discussing some of

17 the applications for Indus and particularly the point

18 about Rosemary Nelson, that she was perceived to be

19 a dedicated Republican.

20 Do you think, or did you pick up from RUC

21 Special Branch, that there was a hostility towards her

22 as a result of that perception?

23 A. Not a specific one, no. I don't think that I can recall

24 any conversation in which there was a specific reference

25 to Rosemary Nelson that I had, conversations around





1 Indus.

2 Q. You have chosen your words carefully there, using the

3 word "specific". What do you mean by that?

4 A. I go back to what I was saying just before the break,

5 that I think that, you know, on occasions I think that

6 the RUC, you know, had difficulty with solicitors who

7 were defending Republican activists, members of the

8 Provisional IRA and, you know, feeling, I think, that

9 they were not operating exclusively as solicitors but

10 were -- you know, their sympathies were too far towards

11 the prisoners that they were defending.

12 Q. Now, is this something which would have applied to any

13 solicitor representing a Republican client or

14 specifically a small number of solicitors of which

15 Rosemary Nelson appears -- or could have been one?

16 A. I would find it hard to comment on that absolutely

17 definitively, but as I said previously, I did not get

18 a sense in any of the discussions I had around Indus

19 that Rosemary Nelson was being singled out by my RUC

20 interlocutors as being a particularly difficult

21 individual or, you know, was further down that track

22 than others.

23 Q. But what you are saying, I think, is that there may have

24 been some general hostility towards solicitors who were

25 perceived to have overstepped the mark?





1 A. Yes.

2 Q. May I return now to the Indus application? There is an

3 email dated 28 August 1998, which we can find at

4 RNI-531-024 (displayed). And for your reference, you

5 discuss this at paragraph 19 of your statement, if you

6 want to refer to that.

7 A. Yes, can I just wait for it to come up on the screen?

8 Thank you.

9 Q. It is slightly obscured, I think, because we have had to

10 apply a redaction to the manuscript name at the top

11 left, but I think you are the author, S284 there?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And the recipients are various colleagues within the

14 Security Service, as we can see from the heading at the

15 top?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The content is about Operation Indus, and in summary it

18 appears to identify two concerns. The first is

19 a political concern that compromise of the operation

20 could have a political fallout because Rosemary Nelson

21 had a background or a history with the RUC and in

22 particular allegations of harassment. The second point

23 which you make, and we see that in paragraph B of the

24 text of the message, is about legal privilege.

25 Just taking the first of those, what did you know at





1 this stage about Rosemary Nelson's harassment cases?

2 A. Nothing more than I have put there. I don't recollect

3 the detail. I don't know whether I was originally privy

4 to the exact detail. That's as much as I am afraid I am

5 able to say.

6 Q. Who had briefed you about this information so that you

7 could write this message?

8 A. I can't comment with absolutely confidence. I suspect

9 it was a member of -- one of my team.

10 Q. The A Branch technical team?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Would you also have had a discussion with the

13 Assessments Group?

14 A. No, I don't think so in this context.

15 Q. And the reporting on harassment is presumably something

16 that would have come through open sources, would it?

17 A. I'm not able to comment where it came from. Certainly I

18 don't think we had been aware of it prior to it --

19 I suspect that this had come up through conversation --

20 between a member of my team and members of the RUC

21 locally. I don't think that we had -- we would have

22 been aware of that through open source reporting.

23 Q. So when you wrote this, you weren't aware of the exact

24 case that is being referred to and what its allegations

25 were?





1 A. I don't recall knowing the detail of it, no.

2 Q. Why was that an issue for the Service to be concerned

3 about?

4 A. I think, as you said in your preamble, because clearly

5 Rosemary Nelson had won a harassment case, it added to

6 the risk of a compromise associated with this operation,

7 given at this point we had identified that Nelson owned

8 the target property.

9 So I think that the concern was that if that -- an

10 operation to install a device in this target property

11 had been compromised in some way, there was a danger

12 that this would be represented as further evidence of

13 harassment of Rosemary Nelson, not just extending to the

14 RUC but obviously including the Security Service as

15 well.

16 Q. Was this an issue which the Service had identified as

17 being pertinent and which the RUC had, for whatever

18 reason, missed?

19 A. I suspect that the weighting of this -- at this stage,

20 the Service was giving greater weighting to it --

21 I clearly thought that it was significant enough to make

22 it very important that I sent it urgently to my senior

23 management. And clearly DCI recognised its potential

24 implications too because he had chosen to mention it

25 to me.





1 Q. What did he say?

2 A. I can only refer to what is in the document. I suspect

3 that he phoned me and just took me through, you know,

4 the case, I think -- subtext would have been this is an

5 important case with potential value in terms of the

6 intelligence dividend.

7 Nonetheless, in an already difficult operating

8 environment, there were two factors which we in A Branch

9 needed to be -- you know, to take account of: one being

10 that Nelson owned the property; secondly, that we needed

11 to ensure that we had the mechanisms in place to deal

12 with legal professional privileged information.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Did you have many discussions with the DCI

14 before you wrote this minute, about this matter?

15 A. It is very hard to give you a definitive answer on that.

16 What -- in relation to Indus, what I can say is that in

17 this period, given the broader political developments,

18 the number of conversations that I was having with the

19 DCI were increasing and -- and his team were increasing

20 quite significantly.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

22 MR SKELTON: Can you give us a idea of how unusual it would

23 be to have a discussion like this with him about the

24 political ramifications of a device?

25 A. This is -- I think this was -- something that was as





1 specific as this was probably quite unusual. I don't

2 think it was the only case of this kind, but this was

3 quite unusual.

4 Q. Now, in the beginning of the message, you say that:

5 "The property is owned by Rosemary Nelson. Nelson

6 is the solicitor and lover of Colin Duffy."

7 Was that something of which the DCI was also aware?

8 A. I suspect so. But, again, I can't comment with

9 authority.

10 Q. Well, did you tell him that information or was that

11 something that he would have independently known about?

12 A. I think he probably would have independently known

13 about it.

14 Q. May we look, please, at a note for file which comes

15 after this message? That can be found at RNI-531-026

16 (displayed). Its title is "Northern Ireland property

17 warrant, NIPW, discussion with regional head of

18 Special Branch South."

19 The date is 2 September 1998. Could you just

20 explain what:

21 "For PA on: NIPW through SO to DCI Rep Knock" means,

22 please?

23 A. Those are references to the filing system that the DCI

24 team would have operated in Northern Ireland. Clearly

25 there was a rigorous record-keeping system. So it was





1 important that this document was -- was captured to the

2 record.

3 Q. Now, the author, I think, is the DCI Rep Knock. The

4 recipients are you and the DCI?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. It refers to a discussion between the DCI Rep and South

7 Region, Head of Special Branch, who would have been the

8 Chief Superintendent there.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Why were South Region Special Branch so keen to proceed

11 with this application?

12 A. Because I think the intelligence dividend was considered

13 to be very high, given Colin Duffy's activities, both

14 locally and on a more Province-wide scale.

15 Q. Save for the two complications which we have discussed

16 and which we will go on to in more detail, was the

17 Service content that this was a necessary and

18 proportionate application?

19 A. Yes, it was. But it was clearly one where we recognised

20 that we needed to proceed with the utmost care and that

21 we needed to keep it under constant review.

22 Q. Did you discuss the proposal with Assessments Group?

23 A. Not that I recall.

24 Q. When we talked in general terms about the application

25 process, you explained that there would be on occasions





1 the need to go back to Assessments Group to validate

2 intelligence or see if they had a strategic interest --

3 A. Yes. I don't recall in this case, but I think at this

4 point in the process we were probably through that and

5 we were now into sort of more strategic considerations.

6 Q. Well, had you had discussions with them prior to this

7 note for file then?

8 A. I don't recall.

9 Q. Would that have been something that may have been done

10 by your lower team members?

11 A. Very probably, if it had happened. But I don't recall

12 whether it had or it hadn't.

13 Q. Now, in relation to the complicating factors, if I may

14 term them that, did you have the perception that the

15 South Region had deliberately left out the ownership of

16 the property from the body of the application in its

17 original form in order to avoid such complications in

18 the warranty process?

19 A. No.

20 Q. Well, was there a tension that there had been some form

21 of failure on their part to at least advertise more

22 prominently that fact?

23 A. Yes, I think it was -- bluntly, I think it was

24 a competence issue, that -- if I recall correctly,

25 earlier on there were certainly pointers to the fact





1 that Nelson might have owned the property in the

2 supporting documentation. That wasn't flagged in the

3 actual substantive application.

4 Q. And was your concern to prevent the application

5 proceeding until those factors were made explicit and

6 thought through?

7 A. No, because I think that this is all actually

8 retrospective. I don't think that necessarily we would

9 have -- as I said, we wouldn't have seen. The

10 application was conducted on a -- it did not come

11 through my office. And, you know, it went through the

12 DCI channel. I think that this, at this stage, had

13 been -- I suspect had been approved.

14 Q. So this is very late consternation, is it?

15 A. I think it is retrospective consternation, yes.

16 Q. You mentioned competence issues, but I mean we have

17 described earlier on how there would have been quite

18 a lot of discussion between yourselves and

19 Special Branch about the application, who it was

20 against. Although you specifically said you wouldn't

21 necessarily want to know the ownership of the property,

22 it may have been a factor. Why had that not been

23 flushed out by you?

24 A. Or the team? Because I think in the discussions, I just

25 don't think it had featured as relevant. I think the





1 relationship between Duffy and Nelson, you know, and our

2 understanding of it seemed to be, you know, during the

3 discussion and the application process and I don't think

4 that the significance of this issue had become

5 apparent -- the strength of the relationship between

6 Duffy and Nelson had not been central to the discussions

7 early on. And I think genuinely that was because it

8 hadn't been understood by the RUC.

9 The relationship, their understanding of it, evolved

10 as we went along and things that were clearly pertinent

11 in an evolving political environment came out at various

12 points. I don't think that that was pre-meditated or

13 deliberate; it was just the way that it happened.

14 In retrospect, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight,

15 would we have been more rigorous in focusing on the

16 ownership of the property in this case? Yes. But at

17 the time of the discussion it didn't seem relevant until

18 we got to the point where the warrant was, at very best,

19 well advanced and possibly may even have been submitted.

20 Q. Who did spot the point?

21 A. I don't know. I think somebody in the DCI Rep's team.

22 Q. So he would have a number of people who were assisting

23 him to assess prior to passing it to the DCI?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And as you say, this occurred really after it had gone





1 through your team and through RUC Special Branch?

2 A. Again, I make the point that we would not have seen --

3 we, my office, would not have seen the warrant

4 application in the form -- you know, in the form that

5 you see it here today.

6 Q. So the lengthy document which I showed you extracts of

7 earlier would not have been seen by you at all?

8 A. No, not until it had actually been signed.

9 Q. But it would have been seen by the DCI Rep?

10 A. Yes. And as I also said earlier, we would expect to

11 have had knowledge of everything that was pertinent

12 within that particular document.

13 Q. Now, what seems to occur here is that the DCI has these

14 concerns. There is a conversation between his

15 representative and South Region Head of Special Branch,

16 and what seems to be being said is that it is important

17 for the Head of Special Branch, i.e. the ACC, and the

18 Chief Constable himself to be aware of it?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Did that happen?

21 A. I believe that it did, yes.

22 Q. And whose responsibility was it to talk to the Head of

23 Special Branch and the Chief Constable about it?

24 A. The lead responsibility in this area was the DCI's, but

25 clearly we would have been working in concert on this





1 and we would have certainly wanted to -- we, A Branch,

2 would have wanted to make sure that the points the DCI

3 had made, had registered with both the Head of

4 Special Branch and the regional head of Special Branch.

5 Q. Can you say from that that the DCI did in fact speak to

6 the Chief Constable about this warrant?

7 A. I believe that he did, but again, I can't be absolutely

8 authoritative on that.

9 Q. What was their response?

10 A. I think that the -- there was a general recognition of

11 the sensitivities at senior management level within the

12 RUC. As I said earlier, increasing levels of Service

13 effort had been invested in sensitising the RUC to the

14 emerging political environment and the need to take

15 particular care and to be absolutely certain that the

16 operations that we were conducting were of the

17 highest -- you know, offered the highest potential

18 dividends in intelligence terms.

19 Q. Did the Head of Special Branch, the ACC, always have to

20 sign off on an application before it went across to you?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Did the Chief Constable always get involved?

23 A. I don't think that the Chief Constable necessarily did

24 get involved in the application, no.

25 Q. So this is an exceptional case, is it?





1 A. I think it is.

2 Q. Are there many other instances where you can recollect

3 the Chief Constable needing to be apprised of a specific

4 operation in order to consider its political or legal

5 sensitivities?

6 A. I can't remember an individual case, but I'm pretty

7 confident that at this time there were other cases in

8 which the DCI would have had conversations with the

9 Chief Constable.

10 Q. Now, I appreciate that you are just a recipient of this

11 note and you weren't a participant in the original

12 conversation, but there is one final bit I would like to

13 ask you about, and that's right at the bottom in

14 paragraph 3 and it is the DCI Rep saying:

15 "I reminded the regional head of Special Branch that

16 the Secretary of State was well aware of Nelson's

17 complaints [plural] to the PCA, [the Police Complaints

18 Authority] and getting the warrants signed could not be

19 taken for granted."

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. What is being referred to there?

22 A. I think what is being referred to there is that in this

23 environment the Secretary of State was clearly very

24 alert to the risks associated with technical operations

25 as well as the potential dividends, and that she would





1 have factored into her considerations of the pros and

2 cons of this particular application the potential

3 fallout from a compromise, which, taken with other

4 elements of concern, where Rosemary Nelson had had

5 problems with the law enforcement agencies, the RUC,

6 a compromise would have had added significance.

7 So I think it was -- there was an element, I think,

8 of expectation management on the part of DCI Rep here;

9 all part, I think, of the Service's engagement with the

10 RUC in terms of sensitising them to, you know, the

11 changing environment in which they were operating.

12 So I think previously most of the jobs, if they had

13 a sufficiently strong intelligence case, it was felt

14 that they would be signed as a matter of course by the

15 Secretary of State. This is really saying that the

16 environment has now changed and despite the fact that

17 there is a strong intelligence case here, there are

18 other aspects to the operation that the Secretary of

19 State will take account of.

20 Q. I'm particularly concerned with the specifics about

21 Rosemary Nelson's complaints to the Police Complaints

22 Authority. Were you aware of those complaints?

23 A. No, I wasn't.

24 Q. So when you received this note for file, you wouldn't

25 have known what it was talking about?





1 A. No, not in detail. Again, I go back to the generalities

2 that, you know, there was clearly a fractious

3 relationship between Rosemary Nelson and the police in

4 the local area.

5 Q. In what way?

6 A. Clearly there are references there that you have just

7 alluded to. There is -- you were asking me earlier

8 about references within the property warrant application

9 to Rosemary Nelson which suggested a slightly fractious

10 relationship.

11 Q. Did they? Those references that I showed you suggested

12 that RUC Special Branch had a view of her as being

13 a dedicated Republican, based on intelligence they had

14 gathered from various sources. It didn't suggest

15 explicitly that there was a fractious relationship

16 between them, and I think there is a distinction there,

17 isn't there?

18 A. There might be. I think the fact that they had been

19 included in a warrant in part reflected the, you know,

20 the nature of that relationship.

21 Q. Outside of Special Branch's intelligence on

22 Rosemary Nelson, were you aware of a fractious

23 relationship through the media, through your discussions

24 with your colleagues, through your discussions with the

25 police more generally, between the two?





1 A. No.

2 Q. So when you mentioned the relationship, you are basing

3 it entirely on what you have seen for the purposes of

4 this application, are you?

5 A. And in terms of discussions around the warrant

6 application.

7 Q. Were you present during any of the high level

8 discussions between, for example, the DCI and the

9 Secretary of State or the DCI and the Permanent

10 Undersecretary, or the DCI and the Head of

11 Special Branch or the Chief Constable?

12 A. No, I wasn't.

13 Q. So you were a copyee for information, really, so you

14 could see the progression of the warrant?

15 A. I was copied in, but I don't think it was just for

16 information. I mean, there was clearly -- with some of

17 the things that DCI had passed to me, he was expecting

18 that A Branch would take action, at least in terms of

19 factoring in the Secretary of State's concerns to the

20 way in which we engaged with the progress in this

21 particular operation.

22 Q. Now, we can see on the following page, which is

23 RNI-531-027 (displayed), that there is a document which

24 is from you and a colleague at the Security Service to

25 S629, another member of the Security Service, as





1 a priority. And it says:

2 "The Secretary of State to be informed of all

3 developments of the operation at the earliest

4 opportunity."

5 And again:

6 "Secretary of State to be given guidance on the

7 assets of legal privilege before [double underlined] the

8 op deploys."

9 If we go on to the next page, RNI-531-028

10 (displayed), I think we can see the cover sheet that

11 that document connects to. That is a document from the

12 DCI on Director A, who I think is your boss?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Dated 4 September 1998. And we can see also you are the

15 a copyee of that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. The subject is "Property Warrant Application". And the

18 detail of that -- which is something I'll ask the DCI

19 himself about this afternoon -- is the Secretary of

20 State's deliberations over it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. You were sending this, I think, to colleagues?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. How much were you aware about the Secretary of State's

25 personal views of this application?





1 A. I was aware of the -- of the content in terms of as it

2 had been summarised in the -- this and the previous

3 pieces of conversation, probably no more than that.

4 But what I had done here, I had asked for this to

5 be -- I thought this was important, this particular --

6 you know, this capturing of this decision. I thought it

7 was sufficiently important to ensure that colleagues of

8 mine in A Branch below Director A, to whom this note had

9 been sent, this loose minute had been sent, were aware

10 of what was going on. And that is why I had sent this

11 across to people who -- in my organisation who would

12 have been involved with taking this operation forward.

13 So I wanted to make sure that everybody who had some

14 sort of contribution to make to the conduct of this

15 operation was aware of the significant sensitivities

16 around it.

17 Q. Now, as this document makes clear, I think on the next

18 page -- if we just go to that, RNI-531-029

19 (displayed) -- she had signed the warrant with the two

20 caveats which you had identified in manuscript on the

21 cover sheet?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. One of them was to do with level privilege and that is

24 essentially a legal issue. I appreciate you are not

25 a lawyer, so I'm not going to be asking you in detail





1 about that, but it is right, I think, that we can find

2 in the rest of the bundle that there is a considerable

3 amount of advice and consideration about that issue

4 which goes up to the highest levels as a result of this,

5 but more importantly for my purposes, keeping the

6 Secretary of State abreast of the operational

7 developments. What does that mean in practice?

8 A. What -- in practice, I think what that meant was that I

9 would have been in regular conversation, contact, with

10 both DCI and DCI Rep, telling them about where we stood

11 in relation to this operation, were we able to deploy,

12 were there additional factors which had made the

13 operation more risky, had the intelligence case changed.

14 I think any detail would have been fed into DCI or

15 DCI Rep Knock to ensure that in their regular

16 discussions with the Secretary of State, she could have

17 the information that she required.

18 Q. So throughout the subsequent few months, presumably up

19 to Rosemary Nelson's death, there would have been

20 regular briefings to the Secretary of State by the DCI

21 about the state of play between Colin Duffy and

22 Rosemary Nelson, who owned the property, whether the

23 operation had proceeded, et cetera?

24 A. If there had been pertinent developments, I think they

25 would have been fed in. I do not have the authority to





1 comment on how frequently the case was discussed between

2 DCI and the Secretary of State.

3 Q. To conclude matters, I would like to show you two more

4 documents really which I think end the Indus application

5 story. The first is a property warrant revalidation

6 document, which we can find at RNI-531-116 (displayed).

7 Now, earlier in your evidence you described the

8 process of revalidation of being essentially an audit

9 process to make sure it was still proportionate and

10 necessary, et cetera. A routine process. Was that

11 every six months?

12 A. Yes, it was.

13 Q. So this is the six-monthly review, roughly?

14 A. Yes, roughly, yes.

15 Q. And we can see that the of author of that document is

16 the Head of Special Branch for the Chief Constable. If

17 we go overleaf we can see the end of it in fact.

18 One thing I would like you to comment upon is the

19 signature there. It says "Head of Special Branch", but

20 in fact it isn't the Head of Special Branch who is

21 signing off on it, it is a detective superintendent from

22 South Region. His name has been redacted and you can

23 see he is a witness to this Inquiry because he has been

24 given anonymity.

25 Now, the fact that he is signing off on this, does





1 that mean that the Head of Special Branch wouldn't

2 necessarily have been sighted of revalidation and the

3 issues which were associated with it?

4 A. I can't comment on that with authority. I assume that

5 the detective superintendent there has substituted for

6 the Head of Special Branch, but I'm not sure why that

7 should have been.

8 Q. Well, the concern might be that there are quite

9 considerable formalities to go through in an application

10 process, and we took you through them earlier on in your

11 evidence, i.e. it starts at the local office, it goes

12 through the Inspector, the Superintendent, the Chief

13 Superintendent, up to the Assistant Chief Constable,

14 that there may be some attempt occasionally to short

15 circuit that process within Special Branch. And really

16 that's the point I'm trying to get to.

17 A. I can't comment with authority on that. I would suggest

18 that's a question you might want to raise with the DCI,

19 who would be better placed to answer it.

20 Q. The substance of the document is about the continuing

21 need for the application to proceed, the warrant to

22 proceed. And you can see from the paragraphs that we

23 have on screen that there is a continuing case in the

24 RUC's mind, but it does appear, doesn't it, that the

25 application, the device, had not in fact proceeded and





1 had not been installed in the property at this stage?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. The final document I would like to show you is

4 RNI-532-091 (displayed), and that's a note for file

5 produced by a member of your team, I think?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Who had attended a meeting with Special Branch South

8 Region, and the Tasking and Coordination Group, South

9 Region on 29 July 1999?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And we can see the date of the document is the next day,

12 30 July?

13 A. Hm-mm.

14 Q. A lot of it is redacted, presumably referring to things

15 that have no concern to the Inquiry, but you can see at

16 paragraph 7 that it refers to Operation Indus, and it

17 says:

18 "B627 agreed to drop this from the requirements

19 list."

20 B627 is a Special Branch officer:

21 "Once Rosemary Nelson's estate has been settled, he

22 anticipated that Paul Nelson will sell the property. He

23 does not see any point installing anything in Indus that

24 will only be of use for a matter of months."

25 That appears to be the end of Operation Indus. Is





1 that correct?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. It never went ahead in that property?

4 A. It never went ahead.

5 Q. You have told us that you were in post as technical team

6 leader from about April 1997 to June 2000?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. So far as you were aware, did any of the product from

9 the technical devices which you managed during that

10 period, up to Rosemary Nelson's death, provide any

11 indication that she would be targeted?

12 A. None whatsoever.

13 Q. Did any of the product of any of the devices you managed

14 in the period after her death until your departure as

15 team leader provide any indication as to who may have

16 killed her?

17 A. None, no.

18 Q. In the documents which we have on screen, if we go to

19 page RNI-532-092, please (displayed) -- this is going

20 back to the meeting of 30 July -- there is a paragraph

21 heading "New Requirements" and paragraph 9 is wholly

22 redacted, but paragraph 10 is unredacted at least in

23 part, and it states:

24 "In shops to a question from [you, B627],

25 [a Special Branch officer] confirmed that there was not





1 a direct link between [blank] and Rosemary Nelson murder

2 (although he would certainly have been aware of the

3 planning) and that as a result the Port team was not

4 targeting [blank]."

5 Can you comment on that, please?

6 A. I'll try to, yes, sir, within the confines of

7 sensitivity.

8 This was discussion, clearly redacted in

9 paragraph 9, to a proposal from the RUC to an operation

10 against a Loyalist target. And my question in

11 paragraph 10 really was about ensuring that there was no

12 conflict of interest between what we, A Branch, were

13 doing and what the Port team were doing. I wanted to

14 make absolutely sure that we wouldn't both be trying to

15 install a technical device against the same individual.

16 Q. Thank you. When did you first become aware of

17 Colin Port's investigation into Rosemary Nelson's death?

18 A. I can't give you a precise date, but clearly fairly

19 shortly after the setting up of Colin Port's team had

20 been decided.

21 Q. And were you aware of the reasons why Mr Port's team

22 were so keen to use technical attacks as one of the

23 means of gathering evidence for that investigation?

24 A. The reasons that they wanted to use technical

25 operations, yes, they did explain to me, and it was





1 clear that they believed that technical operations were

2 probably the way in which they were likely to achieve

3 a result in terms of the investigation.

4 Q. And was it their thinking that your assets, your

5 devices, were the superior form of technical attack and,

6 therefore, they needed to go towards Special Branch and

7 the Security Service as opposed to relying on the CID's

8 capabilities?

9 A. I'm not sure that I saw it that -- quite like that. I

10 think that they -- I think that their early instincts

11 were that they wanted to develop an independent

12 approach, and I think they were encouraged to come and

13 talk with us to see how we might be able to help them

14 because I think that actually we thought that the

15 operating environment in Northern Ireland was actually

16 tougher than the Port team felt that it was, in the

17 early stages at least, and to make sure that the two

18 organisations, the Port team and A Branch, deconflicted

19 and didn't end up treading on each other's toes.

20 Q. To what extent do you think they may have underestimated

21 the Northern Ireland factor?

22 A. I think it was a very significant and quite steep

23 learning curve for them based on relatively limited

24 exposure to what they were doing. But certainly my

25 impression was that they were surprised by how difficult





1 it was. I think they believed that getting tech op

2 coverage against individuals that they believed to have

3 been involved in the murder of Rosemary Nelson would be

4 a lot easier than in fact it was.

5 Q. Easier in what way?

6 A. The whole gamut, in terms of actually installing

7 a functioning device at a location that would provide

8 viable and evidence-worthy material on those individuals

9 that they suspected were involved in Rosemary Nelson's

10 murder.

11 Q. Was there also a sense in which, to put it at its

12 crudest, you simply didn't want to get involved in the

13 investigatory process?

14 A. I don't think that was the case, no. I think we --

15 I mean, we were keen to help the Port Inquiry as much as

16 it was possible to do. Equally, we were acutely aware

17 of the value that our devices were continuing to

18 provide, saving lives, et cetera, in Northern Ireland,

19 and acutely aware of the damage that a compromise of one

20 of our devices would cause to the political process, as

21 I have referred to previously. And we did have concern

22 that the way in which the Port team were approaching

23 installation of technical devices could prejudice our

24 activities by association, by sensitising people to the

25 possibility of devices, et cetera, et cetera.





1 Q. And I don't want you to describe exactly what they were

2 doing in relation to either their proposals or the

3 reality of their technical devices, but what was it

4 about their management of those devices which you

5 considered to be insufficiently safe?

6 A. I think that the Port team had come -- its experience

7 was -- had been developed in the criminal world in

8 mainland GB by and large, and I don't think that,

9 certainly in the early stages -- and clearly the

10 Port Inquiry continued long after I left

11 Northern Ireland -- I don't think that when they

12 initially arrived that the Port team were aware of just

13 what a challenging operating environment

14 Northern Ireland was in terms of awareness and

15 countermeasures capability that target groups might have

16 had.

17 Q. Were you aware of the backgrounds of the individual

18 senior officers in the Port team?

19 A. Some of them, yes, I think I was and I certainly met

20 a couple of them.

21 Q. Had you taken a view about whether those backgrounds

22 would have given them sufficient experience or

23 wherewithal to make the judgments which you have

24 described?

25 A. I certainly don't think we were getting into a sense of,





1 you know, judging them or forming a view about whether

2 it was acceptable or not; merely that we wanted to

3 engage with them to -- you know, in a constructive

4 dialogue to ensure that they could deliver what they

5 needed to deliver, in which we clearly saw benefit. But

6 at the same time that our ongoing work -- and at that

7 stage we envisaged being engaged for, you know, the

8 foreseeable future -- was not prejudiced in any way.

9 Q. Would the Security Service ordinarily have allowed its

10 assets to be used by or available to murder

11 investigations in Northern Ireland?

12 A. I'm not sure that I am confident in answering that

13 question.

14 Q. Well, during the period in which you had management of

15 those assets, can you remember any instances in which

16 you made your assets available?

17 A. It is because -- I can answer the second part of that.

18 There were no instances where that happened in the time

19 I was there, but I don't know whether, in theory at

20 least, that could have happened had we had that

21 material.

22 Q. Why was it an issue or why did it come about that it was

23 even a possibility that the Security Service could be

24 assisting in this way in this case?

25 A. I think because of the significance of the -- you know,





1 of the Port Inquiry, a desire to help, a recognition

2 that the security environment in Northern Ireland was

3 changing, that the Service wanted to play a constructive

4 part in that and that we would be, you know, always

5 willing to sort of look at ways in which we might be

6 able to assist other people.

7 Q. Would it have been a decision of your senior management,

8 either in A Branch or essentially back in London at the

9 highest level, to have engaged with the Port team on

10 this sort of issue?

11 A. Absolutely. I think the implications of this were such

12 that it would have been taken at the highest level of my

13 organisation.

14 Q. Is that a decision that the Service would make

15 autonomously or was it something that you were being

16 asked to do by either the Chief Constable or by perhaps

17 the Secretary of State or even the Prime Minister in

18 this case?

19 A. I can't comment with absolute authority. I suspect that

20 a request could have come from any of those.

21 Q. And it would ordinarily have been the case, would it,

22 that the Security Service would have preferred to have

23 kept away from police investigations for the reasons you

24 have given: the preservation of assets, political

25 compromise, resourcing, et cetera?





1 A. I think so, given the environment in which we were

2 operating and the success that was arising from the way

3 in which we were operating, I think we would have -- the

4 threshold would have had to have been particularly high.

5 Q. Sir, I have no further questions. Unless the witness

6 has something to add or you would like to take a break,

7 I will leave it there.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, we will have a ten-minute break.

9 Before we have the break, Mr (name redacted), before the

10 witness leaves, would you please confirm that all the

11 cameras have been switched off?

12 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

14 We will break off until 20 to one.

15 (12.28 pm)

16 (Short break)

17 (12.40 pm)

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

19 area screen fully if place, looked and the key secured?

20 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

22 screen closed?

23 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

24 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

25 and securely fastened?





1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

3 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

4 of this chamber?

5 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (name redacted), the two witness cameras have

7 been switched off and shrouded?

8 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

10 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

12 Bring the witness in, please. Do sit down, please.

13 The cameras on the panel, Inquiry personnel and the

14 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

15 switched back on.

16 Yes, Mr Skelton?

17 MR SKELTON: Two short issues. First of all, we looked at

18 an email or message which you had sent in August 1998,

19 which was at RNI-531-024 (displayed), and I asked you

20 a few questions about the harassment case that you were

21 referring to there.

22 Now, I think, as I understood it, you were saying

23 that you didn't have any personal knowledge of the case

24 but you would have picked it up from someone else?

25 A. Yes, I think that's how I would read that now, yes.





1 Q. And the most likely person would have been someone in

2 Special Branch, would it?

3 A. Indirectly. I think it would have been relayed to me by

4 a member of my team, yes, sourced probably from someone

5 in Special Branch.

6 Q. Is there a danger when you are writing documents such as

7 this that to some extent you are recycling information

8 which you do not personally have any knowledge of?

9 A. I think that's true, and obviously with the benefit of

10 hindsight you could see how one might drill in to some

11 of these things and validate them.

12 Q. And to what extent is that perhaps a necessary aspect of

13 the Security Service's work, that they are reliant on

14 RUC Special Branch for their information when it comes

15 to writing or assessing things like technical devices?

16 A. I think that is a theme, or it was a theme with the

17 security model that existed at this time, where the RUC

18 had the intelligence lead. That, of course, is no

19 longer the case.

20 Q. Was it, therefore, the case that you had to have faith

21 in the rectitude of the information you were being given

22 by them?

23 A. Yes, absolutely. And I think, you know, we -- we took

24 great store in developing relations with RUC officers,

25 of testing the information in a variety of different





1 situations. So we were constantly testing what we were

2 being told and if we felt that we weren't getting the

3 entirety of the picture, then we would seek to escalate.

4 Q. Now, is the need for the testing born of a suspicion

5 that you might not necessarily have been given a full

6 picture or that what you were receiving could be based

7 on speculation or rumour or misinterpretation?

8 A. I think by and large at this time it was based on being

9 professional and rigorous and, again, recognising that

10 we were in an environment, a security environment that

11 was changing, that was more politically charged and that

12 the consequences of getting it wrong were that much

13 higher.

14 So I think there was a general tendency to check

15 things more -- in more depth than had previously been

16 the case.

17 Q. We also discussed in your evidence the contact which you

18 had into RUC Special Branch, and I think you told us it

19 was generally at a very high level. Head of

20 Special Branch or the regional heads of Special Branch

21 were your routine contacts?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. In relation to Indus, did you have contact with either

24 the Head of Special Branch or his regional head directly

25 yourself?





1 A. I can't comment authoritatively, but I think in the

2 circumstances we must have referred to it. That there

3 is no record suggests that there was nothing additional

4 of substance in those conversations, that it would

5 probably have been reinforcing what DCI had said to the

6 Head of Special Branch and probably to the Head of the

7 RUC.

8 Q. You are phrasing that as it would have been such and

9 such. Can you remember exactly what conversations you

10 did have with either the Head of Special Branch or his

11 regional head for the South?

12 A. In respect of Indus, no, I can't.

13 Q. Did you have any conversation with the Chief Constable

14 about it?

15 A. No, I didn't.

16 Q. Would there be any circumstances in which you yourself

17 would have conversations with the Chief Constable?

18 A. Very occasionally, but it definitely didn't happen in

19 this case.

20 Q. Thank you. Is there anything you would like to add?

21 A. I don't think so, other than just to reiterate what

22 I said earlier in relation to the way in which the

23 documentary material, particularly in relation to the

24 application, has been presented.

25 I think the abiding focus in Indus was on developing





1 intelligence cover of Colin Duffy and everything else

2 was very much peripheral to that. Clearly there were

3 considerations, as we have discussed, but the thrust

4 that of operation for us and everything that we picked

5 up in our discussions with the RUC was that this was an

6 operation designed to improve intelligence coverage on

7 a very significant member of the Provisional IRA at this

8 time.

9 Q. Thank you.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

11 evidence before us.

12 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you

13 please confirm that all the cameras have been

14 switched off?

15 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

17 We will sit again at 2 o'clock.

18 (12.47 pm)

19 (The short adjournment)

20 (2.00 pm)

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

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

23 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

25 screen closed?





1 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: The technical support screens in place and

3 securely fastened?

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

6 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

7 of this chamber?

8 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr (name redacted), can you confirm that the witness

10 cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

11 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

13 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

15 Bring the witness in, please.

16 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

17 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

18 switched back on.

19 Would you please take the oath?

20 S436 (sworn)

21 Questions by MR SKELTON

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Please sit down.

23 Yes, Mr Skelton?

24 MR SKELTON: For the purpose of this Inquiry, you are known

25 as witness S436 and your statement can be found at





1 RNI-844-060 (displayed). If we go through to

2 page RNI-844-070 (displayed), we can see there the date

3 of 18 October 2007 and your signature has been redacted

4 and replaced with your cipher number; is that correct?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Now, going back to page RNI-844-060 (displayed), you say

7 in paragraph 1 that you joined the Security Service in

8 1978. Is that right?

9 A. That is correct.

10 Q. And you retired two years ago?

11 A. I retired in July 2006.

12 Q. And during the period between 10 August 1998 and

13 31 October 2000, you were occupied in the post of

14 Director and Controller of Intelligence, the DCI, in

15 Northern Ireland?

16 A. Director and Coordinator of Intelligence, to be precise.

17 Q. Had you worked on Northern Irish issues previously?

18 A. Yes, I had.

19 Q. Can you tell us, without giving the designations of your

20 role, what kind of work you were doing?

21 A. The first substantive job I had in the Security Service

22 was working in London on manifestations of Irish

23 Republic terrorism overseas, during the period of --

24 there were a number of attacks on British service

25 personnel in Europe and I was an intelligence





1 investigator working in London on that. And then

2 I spent a period in -- working here in Northern Ireland

3 as a member of the Assessment Group in DCI staff up

4 until, I think, about 1983.

5 Q. And in the period between 1983 and your appointment as

6 DCI in 1998, were you also involved with any Northern

7 Irish work?

8 A. Not directly, no.

9 Q. When you say "not directly", what do you mean?

10 A. I mean that the Security Service is an organism that

11 calls on different parts to deliver its effects, and

12 therefore there might have been occasions when I was

13 working in support of work for Northern Ireland even

14 though nominally focusing on other pieces of work.

15 Q. Now, the DCI's position, I think, is a position which is

16 equivalent to a director within the Service, I mean is

17 on the Service Board. Is that correct?

18 A. That's correct.

19 Q. And it's the most senior position in Northern Ireland as

20 far as the Security Service is concerned?

21 A. That's correct.

22 Q. You say in your statement at paragraph 2 that you had

23 two principal roles: Management and performance of your

24 staff in Northern Ireland, which includes the

25 Assessments Group, and advising the Secretary of State





1 and the Permanent Undersecretary?

2 A. That is correct. Can I just qualify that by making

3 clear that the Security Service staff for which I was

4 directly responsible was only the staff working directly

5 for me in Assessments Group, and a small number of

6 ancillary staff. I had no responsibility for the

7 operational activities of other security staff in

8 Northern Ireland.

9 Q. So, for example, the witness we heard this morning, was

10 he answerable to his director back in London?

11 A. That is correct.

12 Q. And were the agent runners and their managers

13 answerable, again, back to a separate director in

14 London?

15 A. In line management terms, that is correct.

16 Q. Were you on a par with those directors?

17 A. Yes, I was.

18 Q. And you would ordinarily have met them as part of your

19 senior management work, would you?

20 A. I would have attended regular meetings of the board

21 which were probably monthly and I would have been in

22 regular conversation by telephone or by whatever means

23 was necessary with both directors.

24 Q. And was there a subgroup of directors, of which you

25 would have been part, which had particular concerns with





1 Northern Irish affairs because I presume that those

2 directors also had non-Irish issues?

3 A. There was no formal subgroup, but the three directors,

4 the one responsible for the agent operations was

5 exclusively -- in my recollection, was exclusively

6 responsible for Northern Irish issues. The other

7 director, who was responsible for the witness you heard

8 this morning, would certainly have had responsibilities

9 that went wider than Irish terrorism.

10 Q. Your advisory role in relation to the Secretary of

11 State, you say in your statement at paragraph 3, which

12 we can see on page RNI-844-061 (displayed), that you met

13 her -- and at this period we are looking at it is

14 Mo Mowlam, I believe -- weekly. What were you

15 discussing?

16 A. I had a standing arrangement to see the Secretary of

17 State on a weekly basis, primarily and mostly for the

18 purpose of delivering to her the warrants -- or the

19 applications for warrants -- or renewals -- that needed

20 her signature. That was the purpose of the weekly

21 appointment.

22 Q. And did you touch upon other issues then that may have

23 been of particular interest to her?

24 A. If she asked me questions or if I thought there were

25 things she needed to know, I would use that opportunity.





1 Q. Were you on call, as it were, to give ad hoc advice by

2 telephone or to be summoned to see her for such advisory

3 purposes?

4 A. Yes, I was.

5 Q. Were these meetings minuted?

6 A. They were not.

7 Q. Why was that?

8 A. The relationship was a particularly sensitive one

9 because it dealt with the most sensitive operational

10 activities undertaken in Northern Ireland, and it was

11 felt appropriate that it should be a conversation

12 between myself and the Secretary of State. The outcome

13 of which -- of these conversations was either that they

14 signed a warrant or that she didn't. The purpose was to

15 advise her in relation to the signing of warrants and

16 for her to decide whether she chose to do so.

17 Q. Who else attended those meetings?

18 A. No one else attended those meetings.

19 Q. You had separate liaison with the Permanent

20 Undersecretary?

21 A. Yes, I did.

22 Q. What was the purpose of that liaison?

23 A. I went through with the Permanent Secretary all the

24 warrant applications, and where possible I would do so

25 before I saw the Secretary of State. But because of the





1 problems of diaries, because of the travelling plans of

2 the Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary

3 between Belfast and London, it wasn't always possible.

4 So there were occasions when he saw the warrants after I

5 had shown them to the Secretary of State.

6 Q. What was his role in the warranty process?

7 A. He, I think, primarily -- I am sure you will ask him the

8 same question: he primarily wished to confirm his trust

9 in me to give the Secretary of State sensible advice.

10 He also wished to be abreast of the sorts of issues that

11 were arising in relation to warrants.

12 I have no doubt that the Secretary of State could

13 have asked for the Permanent Secretary's view or opinion

14 if she chose to do so. I have no knowledge of whether

15 she did or not.

16 Q. Given his responsibilities, the Permanent

17 Undersecretary, which would cover the broad range of the

18 Northern Ireland Office's interests, not simply

19 intelligence but across security and politics and so on,

20 was he in a position really to query the warranty

21 applications, or really was that not a role where you

22 must have necessarily taken the lead?

23 A. He was in a position to raise questions in relation to

24 perhaps propriety in relation to applications. He was

25 not in a position to take any judgment on the





1 intelligence case.

2 Q. That was entirely for you, was it?

3 A. It was ultimately for the Secretary of State.

4 Q. Based on your advice?

5 A. The Secretary of State asked me for my advice and I

6 would advise her in relation to the warrants, but the

7 decision was formally hers.

8 Q. Did she have any other advisers that would intervene in

9 any way in the warranty process or were you the sole

10 person that went into that meeting?

11 A. I was the sole person who advised her, but as will

12 probably become clear, there was a machinery prior to

13 that point at which decisions and consultations took

14 place to decide whether it was appropriate for warrant

15 applications to go forward to the Secretary of State.

16 Q. And did that generally occur in a single meeting that

17 the warrant would effectively be discussed and signed

18 off, or was there a to and fro between yourself and her

19 office?

20 A. No one else in her office saw or was aware of the

21 content of the applications, again, because the

22 sensitivity of the documents concerned.

23 Almost invariably she would take a decision on the

24 warrant at the time. Occasionally and rarely she would

25 ask whether I would either reconsider or ask further





1 questions or seek further advice before bringing it back

2 to her. Such occasions were rare.

3 Q. Now, you are the top of the pyramid when it came to

4 providing the advice at that point at ministerial level,

5 but prior to that the Inquiry has seen that the

6 applications in general originated at grass roots level

7 from Special Branch and would be through the

8 Special Branch hierarchy to the Head of Special Branch,

9 at which stage your representative, the DCI Rep, would

10 become involved.

11 Is that your understanding, in simple terms, of how

12 it worked?

13 A. In simple terms. I suspect that the -- that my

14 representative at Police Headquarters would be aware of

15 applications probably rather earlier in the process than

16 your description describes, i.e. before they had

17 necessarily reached the Head of Special Branch.

18 Q. The witness who gave evidence this morning was a team

19 manager of a sub-speciality of A Branch, and he was

20 involved, it would appear, right from the start. When

21 do you think your representative would have been

22 involved in looking at the substance of a warrant

23 application?

24 A. I suspect that he would have been aware at around about

25 the same time as the witness you heard this morning





1 because I would have expected that they were in fairly

2 regular contact, so that they were aware -- so that my

3 representative at Police Headquarters was aware at the

4 earliest possible point of potential applications and in

5 a position, therefore, if necessary, to warn me if he

6 thought there were any special factors arising, but also

7 to ensure that if there was any urgency that the right

8 people could be available at the right time to ensure

9 that the process was done expeditiously.

10 Q. The witness this morning expressed the view that the

11 Service had a role in judging the necessity and

12 proportionality and ultimately the technical feasibility

13 of an operation. Did your representative have a similar

14 role, leaving aside the feasibility side?

15 A. Yes, I mean, the -- if we are talking about the sorts

16 of technical operations of a kind that no doubt we will

17 come on to talk about, if we are talking, therefore,

18 about technical operations, these were warrants that

19 were delivered to the Security Service. The Security

20 Service had to be satisfied that they met the criteria

21 for the application of a warrant.

22 So the role of my -- the role of my member of staff

23 in Police Headquarters was to be the first point at

24 which serious consideration was given as to whether it

25 was likely to meet the threshold and whether there were





1 any particular issues arising in the particular case.

2 Q. Did he have the authority to stop the application

3 process if he thought that threshold had not been met?

4 A. He almost certainly would have consulted me and I would

5 then almost certainly have spoken directly either to the

6 Head of Special Branch or, if necessary, to the

7 Chief Constable. Rather than a sort of yes/no decision,

8 we would have had a set of further conversations.

9 Q. And when you formed your view about the proportionality

10 and need for an application to proceed to warrant level,

11 did you delve into the detail of it, either through

12 reviewing the written application itself or through your

13 discussions?

14 A. It did depend on the issues raised by the warrant.

15 There were a number of applications each week that were

16 revalidations of existing cases. In those cases, I was

17 usually familiar with the background, but I might seek

18 further information. In the case of new applications, I

19 would almost certainly have spoken to my representative

20 at Police Headquarters on any new application, the one

21 that we are going on to talk about in particular because

22 of the issues that it raised.

23 Q. My interest is particularly in the amount of detail

24 which you would have thought was necessary for you to

25 understand it properly.





1 The application we saw this morning, which there is

2 no need to take you through, but I believe you have

3 seen, was a very lengthy written application going to

4 about 100 or so pages, contained a fairly short, roughly

5 10-page, substantive application plus a series of

6 annexes of Special Branch intelligence and appendices

7 describing individuals who were, let's say, connected to

8 the application.

9 Would your office, through the representative or

10 yourself, have seen that level of detail and

11 considered it?

12 A. My representative at Police Headquarters would certainly

13 have seen that full document. I would not have done.

14 I did not see such applications in full. I relied upon

15 my representative to read and to work with

16 Special Branch to produce a reliable and accurate

17 summary of the intelligence case.

18 Q. We haven't, in the papers that the Inquiry has seen,

19 been given your initial review of this application or

20 the documents which you may have been shown in summary

21 form which allowed you to form that judgment. Is this

22 because it was principally an oral process between you

23 and your representative?

24 A. I think you have in the bundle the document that I saw,

25 which was the application for the warrant, which





1 contains the intelligence case.

2 Q. Indeed, but what we don't have is your detailed thinking

3 on it. What we see is after the warrant starts to go

4 through, we have seen your reaction to it, and a few

5 particular key points which we will come on to. But we

6 haven't seen the balancing exercise about the

7 proportionality and so on which you have discussed was

8 necessary.

9 A. That was something that I took a decision on at the time

10 that I read the application. I did not feel it

11 necessary or appropriate in this or any other case to

12 write a detailed account of the balance. I reached

13 a view on whether it met the threshold, whether it was

14 necessary and proportionate, and I then decided whether

15 it was appropriate to put it forward to the Secretary of

16 State and to advise her accordingly.

17 Q. And similarly, would that sort of written analysis not

18 have taken place lower down, for instance, by your

19 representative?

20 A. The analysis of the intelligence is contained in the RUC

21 case that was put to my representative. He would have

22 gone through that with great care and, if necessary,

23 spoken to people in the RUC. He would have reached his

24 own view.

25 But the important thing was the analysis and the





1 summary of the intelligence, which was in the

2 intelligence case that was put to me. I had confidence

3 in my representative at Police Headquarters to make

4 those preliminary judgments on my behalf. Indeed, that

5 was a very large part of his role.

6 Q. Did your representative have a role in drafting the

7 substance of the application?

8 A. You will have to ask him, but I believe he may well have

9 done.

10 Q. So that when we see something signed off by

11 Special Branch, in fact it may well have been written by

12 the Security Service?

13 A. It may have been written in whole or in part by members

14 of the Security Service, yes.

15 Q. Your liaison with the RUC, would you ordinarily have

16 discussed applications with the Head of Special Branch

17 or was it to some extent out of the ordinary to do so?

18 A. It would be not uncommon that I would discuss with him

19 new applications, but I think you will also recognise

20 that living and working in Northern Ireland at the time,

21 I was familiar with the background of many of the people

22 who were the targets of these operations.

23 It would not be the case normally that the first I

24 had heard of someone who might be a target for such an

25 operation -- the first I heard of them would not





1 normally be when I received an application for

2 a warrant.

3 Q. What about a conversation with the Chief Constable?

4 Would that have been ordinary or out of the ordinary?

5 A. That would have been out of the ordinary. As I have

6 said in my statement, I saw the Chief Constable on

7 a monthly basis, as part of my -- the important ongoing

8 relationship that I had with him. He played no part

9 normally, ordinarily, in decisions about warrant

10 applications. They were matters for the Head of

11 Special Branch.

12 Q. Can you summarise for us, what kind of matters did you

13 discuss in your monthly meetings with the

14 Chief Constable?

15 A. Whatever issues were of the moment. So in particular,

16 one of the things that I sought to do in my role as DCI

17 was to ensure that, as far as possible, the RUC,

18 particularly Special Branch and the Chief Constable, had

19 a good understanding of the issues that were in the mind

20 of the Secretary of State and the

21 Northern Ireland Office in relation to intelligence and

22 the matters which were of particular concern to her.

23 Q. Did you have a role in briefing him on the politics --

24 and I appreciate that in Northern Ireland, politics to

25 some extent starts to merge with intelligence gathering





1 and so on. Did you have a political advisory role in

2 relation to the Chief Constable?

3 A. I would not have had the temerity to advise the

4 Chief Constable on the politics of Northern Ireland, but

5 what I did do was seek to explain to him what the issues

6 were which were of concern to the

7 Northern Ireland Office in relation to security, and in

8 relation to the fragility or otherwise of the peace

9 process then in train.

10 Q. And your liaison with the Army, I think that was

11 similarly on a monthly frequency; is that correct?

12 A. Yes, I suspect that that slipped slightly more often.

13 I felt it was more important to ensure that I saw the

14 Chief Constable, but I'd normally see the General

15 Officer Commanding with his military secretary on about

16 a monthly basis.

17 Q. In paragraph 4 of your statement on page RNI-844-061

18 (displayed), which is still on the screen, I think, you

19 mentioned the intelligence review committee, which you

20 chaired, I believe?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. What was its purpose?

23 A. I can't remember precisely its terms of reference, but

24 it was my opportunity -- it was an important opportunity

25 for me in the performance of my coordination role, which





1 was to have a regular meeting with the most senior

2 military intelligence officer and the most senior police

3 intelligence officer and some of my staff to -- in

4 effect to review the security situation in

5 Northern Ireland, to look at the requirements and

6 priorities for intelligence and to discuss any issues

7 that were arising in relation to the effective and

8 cooperative working between the agencies that were

9 involved in the collection of intelligence in

10 Northern Ireland.

11 Q. Was there a Special Branch attendee at that meeting as

12 well?

13 A. The Head of Special Branch attended.

14 Q. The Assistant Chief Constable?

15 A. He was indeed an assistant chief constable.

16 Q. The other committee which you mention in your statement

17 further on at paragraph 7, overleaf, RNI-844-062

18 (displayed), was the Joint Intelligence Committee, which

19 sat at cabinet level and was in effect the pinnacle of

20 the Government intelligence machinery.

21 You, I think, weren't an attendee at that, but your

22 senior managers, either the director general or the

23 deputy director general, were. Is that correct?

24 A. That is correct.

25 Q. Did you brief them on Northern Irish issues in order for





1 them to brief the JIC?

2 A. I did.

3 Q. How regularly would that occur?

4 A. I don't think I could be very precise about how often

5 the JIC took papers on Northern Ireland. I mean, that

6 would be a matter of record and I can't recall, but

7 periodically or when there were particular significant

8 events, the JIC might ask to take a paper on the

9 situation in Northern Ireland. My staff in the

10 Assessments Group would have a major part in the

11 drafting of such papers.

12 Q. And did the JIC set the strategic requirements for

13 Assessments Group and thereby for the Security Service's

14 intelligence gathering?

15 A. The JIC had a role in setting the overall requirements

16 and priorities for intelligence collection for the

17 intelligence agencies, the United Kingdom intelligence

18 agencies. I cannot precisely recall what role they took

19 in relation to Northern Ireland intelligence. What I

20 can say with confidence is that the intelligence review

21 committee to which you referred earlier was the place in

22 which the more specific decisions were taken on

23 priorities and requirements for the various intelligence

24 agencies that were collecting in Northern Ireland.

25 I suspect the JIC did indeed give us some general





1 guidance.

2 Q. The other committee which you mention in paragraph 8 is

3 the Province Executive Committee or PEC. What was the

4 purpose of that committee?

5 A. I tried to recollect why the Province Executive

6 Committee was formed, but I have to say that --

7 I attended because it was an opportunity for me to meet

8 other people present. But it rarely touched on matters

9 of great interest to me or to my role.

10 But I -- as I have said in my statement, my

11 recollection is that it was created as a way to bring

12 the Army more formally into a senior level body that was

13 looking at security across Northern Ireland. It was not

14 a body looking at intelligence as such.

15 Q. And could you describe in a bit more detail the

16 relationship between intelligence and security?

17 A. I think that is an extremely difficult question to

18 answer. I mean, intelligence -- sorry, can I ask you to

19 rephrase the question? I don't think I can answer it as

20 posed.

21 Q. Well, you are attending the Province Executive Committee

22 as an intelligence adviser and its purpose is to

23 exchange information about security, as you have put it.

24 Now, in what way would intelligence bear upon the

25 issue of security, as far as you were concerned?





1 A. Thank you. Clearly the intelligence picture was an

2 important preliminary for any planning in relation to

3 security in Northern Ireland, and I think -- I have said

4 this in my statement -- one of the regular issues that

5 the Province Executive Committee focused on was the

6 potential for public disorder during the summer period,

7 including marches such as -- and events such as

8 Drumcree.

9 Intelligence would have provided the background to

10 the planning by those responsible for maintaining

11 security and law and order during such events.

12 Q. Now, does it follow from that that the Security Service

13 had an interest in Drumcree itself and the intentions

14 and capabilities of the paramilitary groups on either

15 side in relation to that march?

16 A. It depends what you mean by the Security Service having

17 an interest. The police, with the support from the

18 Army, were responsible for the security of such events.

19 If the Security Service had intelligence which suggested

20 threats to life or other intelligence about such events,

21 then the Security Service would ensure that such

22 material was made available to the police.

23 Q. Well, Drumcree wasn't simply a security issue, was it?

24 It was a political issue as well, and in fact in 1998,

25 the period in which you were involved, it was a high





1 level political issue because it had become a thorn in

2 the side of the peace process. Do you remember that?

3 A. I do.

4 Q. And as we understand it, the Prime Minister's

5 Chief of Staff was involved in what we call proximity

6 talks in order to broker a deal between the two sides.

7 Would you have had an advisory role in relation to that

8 in assessing how the two groups were approaching the

9 issue?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Well, on one side, one would have the Unionist groups,

12 and associated with some of those groups, we, the

13 Inquiry has heard, have been paramilitaries.

14 Would the Service not have had an interest in

15 gathering intelligence on the paramilitary groups

16 supporting those politicians or representees on such

17 discussions?

18 A. The intelligence requirements to which the Security

19 Service responded did require the Security Service, if

20 it was able to, to produce intelligence on the

21 activities and intentions of paramilitary and terrorist

22 groups.

23 If such groups had the intention of using Drumcree

24 to foment violence and if we were able to produce

25 intelligence on such intentions, then that intelligence





1 would have been reported to the police. But the police,

2 not the Security Service, had the responsibility for the

3 security of such events. If we had intelligence, it was

4 our duty and obligation, which I am satisfied that we

5 pursued, to pass such intelligence to the police.

6 Q. Were you also the accountancy officer, in sort of civil

7 service terms, for intelligence in Northern Ireland?

8 A. The accountancy officer?

9 Q. Accounting officer, I'm sorry. I have been corrected on

10 my terminology.

11 In other words, were you responsible for the

12 financing of intelligence operations in the Province?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Who was?

15 A. They were the responsibility of whoever the accounting

16 officer was for the individual organisations.

17 Q. So RUC Special Branch were independently answerable to

18 their own accounting officer?

19 A. Indeed.

20 Q. And what about the operations which you or your service

21 carried out specifically and, for example, the technical

22 operations where the assessments were carried out by

23 your staff as to the warranty and the operation itself

24 was carried out by your staff with your own devices?

25 A. I mean, if I may just repeat the distinction. The staff





1 who carried out the operations were not reporting to me.

2 They were Security Service staff. The accounting

3 officer for the Security Service with responsibility for

4 its proper use of resources was, of course, the director

5 general, to whom I reported.

6 Q. And the payment of RUC sources was not something which

7 the Security Service, through Director T, or any of the

8 other directors was concerned?

9 A. There were special arrangements for the funding of RUC

10 sources.

11 Q. Which were what?

12 A. For which the Permanent Secretary in the

13 Northern Ireland Office was the accounting officer.

14 Q. Why was he the accounting officer and not the RUC

15 accounting officer?

16 A. I am afraid I can't tell you. I simply can't recall at

17 this stage how that had arisen, but I think, as will be

18 clear to the Inquiry, quite a lot of the arrangements

19 were arrangements that had been developed and modified

20 and adjusted over the course of 30 years of violence.

21 And I am afraid at this distance I cannot recall

22 precisely why it was that these particular arrangements

23 had been developed.

24 Q. Do you know, is one of the responsibilities of an

25 accounting officer in senior civil service terms to





1 ensure that the money is being properly spent?

2 A. Indeed.

3 Q. How would the Northern Ireland Office have assessed

4 that?

5 A. In this particular case, the Permanent Secretary asked

6 me for advice.

7 Q. On whether the money was well spent by the RUC --

8 A. On whether it was properly spent.

9 Q. How did you assess that?

10 A. I reviewed agent payments with the RUC on a regular

11 basis.

12 Q. And into what level of detail did you go in relation to

13 individual CHIS, as they are called?

14 A. They were not at that time subject to the regime to

15 which they are currently subject. The level of detail

16 was in relation, as I recall, to the salary and bonus

17 and the justifications were in relation to the quality

18 and quantity of intelligence that they had individually

19 produced.

20 Q. Now, in your original answer you didn't say that the

21 Security Service had a responsibility for the payments

22 for intelligence operations in Northern Ireland. But it

23 sounds like there is in fact a significant area of

24 intelligence gathering for which you did have

25 responsibility?





1 A. Can we distinguish between what was my personal

2 responsibility and that which was the Security Service

3 responsibility because I remind you in the opening

4 statement that I had two responsibilities. One was the

5 Northern Ireland Office and one was the Security

6 Service.

7 Q. So you were being co-managed, were you?

8 A. In effect, yes.

9 Q. Did you have a position within the Northern Ireland

10 Office which you occupied as a political position?

11 A. It was not a political position and it was not -- I was

12 formally still a member of the Security Service. I was

13 not seconded to the Northern Ireland Office, but I had

14 a special relationship with the Secretary of State and

15 with the Permanent Secretary as adviser on intelligence

16 matters, which was set out in my terms of reference.

17 Q. How did you go about assessing the justification for

18 payments to particular agents?

19 A. Can I refer you to my previous answer? I justified it

20 in relation to the quantity and the quality of the

21 intelligence that they produced.

22 Q. The reason I'm asking that question is that the

23 implication would be that you had to go through an awful

24 lot of individual intelligence reporting to come to that

25 view, or were you assisted?





1 A. I was assisted, and I worked on the basis of a summary.

2 Q. And that summary was produced by whom?

3 A. It was produced by the RUC.

4 Q. Who in the RUC?

5 A. I am afraid at this stage I can't recall. It would have

6 been presented to me probably by the Deputy Head of

7 Special Branch.

8 Q. And how regularly did this exercise take place or was it

9 a rolling activity?

10 A. I cannot recall if it was quarterly or six-monthly. It

11 was retrospective in relation to payments of salary and

12 bonuses.

13 Q. And how much information would that contain?

14 A. Sufficient to enable me to make a judgment.

15 Q. Would it devolve into the detail of individuals, not

16 necessarily naming them, but giving you a flavour of how

17 well placed they were, what kind of issues they were

18 reporting on and how much money they had been given for

19 that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. May we look, please, at a particular document,

22 RNI-531-028 (displayed)? Now, this is relating to the

23 Indus application, and it is a loose minute from you to

24 Director A and it is dated 4 September 1998. The

25 subject matter is "Property Warrant Application" and





1 this has really come at the end of the process of

2 warranty with the Secretary of State. In fact, if you

3 want to look briefly overleaf, RNI-531-029 (displayed),

4 we can see just briefly at that point where she says

5 effectively she has signed the warrant, but then there

6 are nevertheless residual concerns with this particular

7 warrant.

8 Had there been an issue in the original application

9 from Special Branch that the RUC hadn't properly

10 identified that Rosemary Nelson was the owner of the

11 property and thought through the potential consequences

12 that meant?

13 A. The potential issue in relation to legal professional

14 privilege arose prior to the formal application to me to

15 proceed with the warrant to the Secretary of State.

16 Q. Well, I appreciate that I'm asking to you look back

17 through this, and I have shown you only the end of the

18 process, but what I would like you to assist us with is

19 the debates that went on beforehand. Now --

20 A. Perhaps you can refer me to the appropriate documents

21 then because it is recorded in the documents.

22 Q. Let's look, then, at RNI-531-026, please (displayed).

23 Now, it appears from this document, which is at

24 a similar period of time, that you, the DCI, had

25 concerns about the application and were wanting to





1 discuss it at the highest levels of the RUC. Can you

2 remember your concerns about it?

3 A. The issues were clear from some time before this date

4 that this was a warrant where there was a very strong

5 intelligence case, which I -- on its own merits, I would

6 have been prepared to put forward. But there were other

7 issues which it raised in relation to the possibility of

8 infringing legal professional privilege and the need,

9 therefore, to reflect that in advice to the Secretary of

10 State, and also because I became aware at this time of

11 the public profile that Rosemary Nelson had taken, in

12 particular in relation to her criticism of the RUC. And

13 I was -- I became aware too that this was something in

14 which the Secretary of State had taken a particular

15 interest.

16 I needed to be absolutely clear that in putting

17 forward an intelligence case with which I was

18 comfortable, that I could make a reasonable and proper

19 case to the Secretary of State for her to sign it, and

20 I knew that she was likely to ask questions, including

21 whether or not it was supported by the Chief Constable.

22 Q. Now, in this document, what we can see is that you are

23 reported as not being concerned about the strengths of

24 the intelligence case. In other words, you had accepted

25 that the case for a technical attack against Colin Duffy





1 in his property was appropriate?

2 A. Yes, that is correct. I had accepted the intelligence

3 case against Colin Duffy was strong enough to justify an

4 application for a warrant.

5 Q. It then goes on to say in paragraph 2:

6 "However, the original application had not referred

7 to the fact that Rosemary Nelson owned the target

8 property."

9 Was that a concern for you, that this had not been

10 identified early on?

11 A. It was an issue that was picked up rather later in the

12 process than I had been comfortable with, but it was

13 picked up.

14 Q. Well, were you critical of that failure to pick it up

15 early and recognise it as being significant?

16 A. No, I was not. But I was -- in part, I believe that

17 this was the role of my staff, to ensure that all such

18 contextual issues, which might not have occurred to the

19 people making the original application, were considered

20 at the point that we put it forward to the Secretary of

21 State.

22 Q. Now, the paragraph goes on to say:

23 "Given Nelson's outstanding complaints against the

24 RUC, her ownership of the house heightened the

25 sensitivity of the operation."





1 What were those complaints?

2 A. I don't know. I was not familiar with or privy to the

3 complaints that she was making.

4 Q. Well, were you aware of Rosemary Nelson, broadly

5 speaking, from her appearances in the media or from her

6 representation of various clients within

7 Northern Ireland?

8 A. Broadly speaking, I was not aware prior to this

9 application for a technical attack.

10 Q. So it had not come to your attention that she had

11 represented Colin Duffy, for example, in relation to

12 murders of security force members?

13 A. It had not. It was not a matter of intelligence concern

14 or interest. We took no interest in the legal

15 representatives of people who might be facing terrorist

16 charges.

17 Q. It appears from the evidence that the Inquiry has seen

18 that Special Branch did take some interest in her

19 relationship with Colin Duffy and that the interest was

20 both in relation to her acting potentially beyond her

21 remit as a solicitor, by creating false alibis -- and

22 this is intelligence we have seen in support of this

23 application -- and we have also seen intelligence to say

24 that she was having a relationship with Colin Duffy, and

25 that, again, was gathered by Special Branch.





1 Were you aware of that?

2 A. You have asked two questions there. Could we perhaps

3 take them one at a time? Could you perhaps ask the

4 first question again?

5 Q. The first question is whether you were aware of any

6 intelligence on Rosemary Nelson to say that she was

7 acting untowardly in relation to Colin Duffy, i.e. acting

8 more than a solicitor by providing things like false

9 alibis for him?

10 A. I was not aware of Rosemary Nelson as a person until the

11 circumstances of this warrant application. I was not

12 aware of suggestions or allegations or concerns that she

13 might be acting in any way improperly.

14 Q. Did you become aware of those allegations or suggestions

15 from this application then?

16 A. I became aware in general terms that she was making

17 complaints against the RUC and not the detail or the

18 content of those complaints.

19 I became aware that she was -- she was a known

20 public figure, and I obviously was briefed on the

21 concerns about -- or the possible issues that might be

22 raised about her relationship with Colin Duffy.

23 Q. Did you read the application?

24 A. I think we have answered that question. I read the

25 application that was to go forward to the Secretary of





1 State. I did not read the -- I think you said it was

2 a 100-page document that was produced by the RUC.

3 Q. Yes, I think I asked it in general terms, but I'm

4 focusing specifically on this one. So your

5 representative would have read this application?

6 A. Indeed, yes.

7 Q. So he would have been appraised of the references to

8 Rosemary Nelson and to the matter which I have adverted

9 to before?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Did he advise you of them?

12 A. We had conversations, as the record shows, around the

13 issues that were raised by this particular application.

14 The issues raised were of legal professional privilege

15 and of the potential misrepresentation of an

16 intelligence attack on Duffy as being an attack on

17 Rosemary Nelson, who was not the subject of the

18 intelligence investigation, who was not the subject of

19 the application for the warrant.

20 Q. When he discussed with you the fact that there were

21 references within the application to Rosemary Nelson and

22 to her connection with Colin Duffy, what was your

23 response?

24 A. This was when we began to consider the position in

25 relation to legal professional privilege and to the





1 issues that it raised in relation to the targeting.

2 The targeting of the operation was against

3 Colin Duffy, but it could be misrepresented if there had

4 been any compromise of the operation as in some way

5 being an attack on Rosemary Nelson.

6 Q. Well, the application itself doesn't mention claims of

7 harassment by Rosemary Nelson or her clients against the

8 RUC. This appears to be something which is recorded in

9 this note for file and in other Security Service memos

10 that we have seen. So where did that information come

11 from?

12 A. I don't know. I mean, I can't tell you with precision

13 where it came from, but clearly it was known to people

14 within the RUC. It was almost certainly known in the

15 media. I could speculate, but I feel it would be

16 inappropriate to do so.

17 Q. Who told you about the complaints and about the

18 possibility that she may continue to complain even more

19 vociferously if this application were compromised?

20 A. Again, there is two parts to the question. I cannot

21 recall who told me. It is possible that it was my head

22 of Assessment Group. It was possible that it was from

23 my representative at Police Headquarters.

24 Q. You mentioned the head of the Assessments Group. Would

25 you ordinarily have consulted with him about details of





1 applications where you needed to know a bit more

2 background?

3 A. Absolutely.

4 Q. Would he also have discussed with you the perception

5 that she was having a sexual relationship with

6 Colin Duffy?

7 A. I cannot recall whether he did at this point.

8 Q. Presumably that issue may have had a bearing on the

9 proportionality of the operation, in that it may have

10 been thought that one of the reasons Mr Duffy was in the

11 property owned by her was because of that relationship?

12 A. That had no bearing on the intelligence case.

13 Q. Did it have a bearing on your consideration of the

14 intelligence case because clearly if that relationship

15 broke down, then the device may become otiose?

16 A. That had no bearing directly on the intelligence case.

17 That might have been a judgment for the RUC or for my

18 technical operational colleagues to make as to whether

19 the investment was -- I mean, the investment resources

20 would be justified for a long-term operation. It was

21 not an issue that I recall considering at the time.

22 Q. May we look, please, at RNI-531-024 (displayed)? Now,

23 this is a slightly earlier document. It is dated

24 28 August 1998. So it is a good four days earlier.

25 Again, it refers to your concerns about this particular





1 operation.

2 You can see that legal privilege is the second

3 concern there, but the first concern is about claims of

4 harassment. The first few lines of that in paragraph A

5 identify that Rosemary Nelson is the owner of the

6 property, and it goes on to say:

7 "She is the solicitor and lover of Colin Duffy, the

8 target of the operation."

9 Was this news to you?

10 A. I cannot recall whether that document was precisely the

11 first time that I became aware of this information.

12 Q. What was its significance?

13 A. Its significance is as set out here: the fact that she

14 is the solicitor raises the issue of legal professional

15 privilege.

16 Q. But why mention that she was the lover of Colin Duffy in

17 a warrant application?

18 A. Because I think that probably the intention -- I'm not

19 sure I can speak to the intentions of the writer -- but

20 the nature of the relationship, it was suggested here,

21 was not primarily or necessarily or exclusively one of

22 legal representative.

23 Q. And the relevance of that was what?

24 A. It was a contextual issue for the operation itself. It

25 seemed reasonable to me that this should be a piece of





1 contextual information available to those planning the

2 operation. If true, it meant that Rosemary Nelson might

3 be spending time at the property, which would increase

4 the chances that we would recover material that could

5 potentially be legally professionally privileged. So in

6 my view it was a relevant piece of information.

7 Q. But presumably legal professional privilege is really

8 something that is a matter of routine. You can

9 determine as a matter of law the circumstances and

10 parameters in which you can intercept conversations

11 potentially between a lawyer and other persons. But

12 wasn't there something special about this particular

13 application, in that it had a political consequence, not

14 simply a legal one?

15 A. I'm trying to understand quite the purpose of the

16 question.

17 Q. The purpose of the question is to determine what

18 political considerations were given rise to in the

19 context of this application.

20 A. Well, I'm not sure that the issues are political. The

21 issues are of consequence and they relate to the advice

22 that I would find it necessary to give to the Secretary

23 of State when she took her decision as to whether or not

24 she was willing to sign this warrant.

25 Q. Well, the political consequence of an allegation of





1 harassment by Rosemary Nelson could be quite severe,

2 couldn't it? This is late 1998. This is at a time when

3 the peace process is gearing up, the Prime Minister and

4 his Chief of Staff are engaged in proximity talks. The

5 Patten Commission is considering whether or not to

6 reform the police. Why do you say it is not political

7 but it has a consequence?

8 A. Any technical operation undertaken at this time carried

9 risks of detriment to the peace process if compromised.

10 It is the case that this one probably carried higher

11 risks of damage to the peace process if there was

12 a compromise. That was the issue that I was to raise

13 with the Secretary of State.

14 Q. Were you aware, from your work or liaison with the

15 Northern Ireland Office, that there had been claims by

16 Rosemary Nelson that she had been threatened by police

17 officers?

18 A. I was not aware of that.

19 Q. Were you aware that there had been some issue reported

20 on by the United Nations Rapporteur of questions about

21 lawyers getting too close to their clients and being

22 intimidated in Northern Ireland?

23 A. I was not aware of that.

24 Q. So that is not the context in which you may have seen

25 this particular application?





1 A. It was not the context -- I was unaware of both points

2 you make.

3 Q. May we look, please, at the loose minute, RNI-531-028,

4 which is the document we saw before (displayed)? Now,

5 this relates to your discussions with the Secretary of

6 State. What was her response to this application?

7 A. Those of you who recall the late Mo Mowlam will know

8 that she was a volatile and emotional person, and I knew

9 that this was one about which she would have concerns.

10 So I sought to set out for her both the strength of the

11 intelligence case, but also to make it absolutely clear

12 that she was aware of the risks which, in fact, she was

13 probably ahead of me in working out for herself.

14 But I particularly wanted to talk about the legal

15 professional privilege question, as well as what you

16 describe as the political risks, which I describe as the

17 consequences for the peace process.

18 Q. And what did she say?

19 A. It is recorded in the minute that she remained --

20 perhaps if you could show me the next page, I think you

21 will find that my minute covers this -- that she

22 remained anxious, is the way that I described it at the

23 time, but she felt it was her duty and responsibility to

24 sign the warrant because of the significance of the

25 intelligence it could potentially bring.





1 Q. Turning back to the previous page, RNI-531-028, again

2 (displayed), there is mention of allegations of RUC

3 harassment. What discussions did you have with her

4 about that?

5 A. I can't go beyond what is already said here. Clearly it

6 was something on which we touched. She would have been

7 aware of those things. Indeed, it may be that she

8 talked to me rather than I spoke to her. I certainly

9 had nothing additional to offer to her other than the

10 fact of my knowledge that there were such allegations.

11 As I said previously, I was not aware of the detail or

12 the substance.

13 Q. Is this simply something that you have no recollection

14 of?

15 A. No, I'm saying that I was not aware then of the

16 specifics of the allegations that she was making or she

17 may have made.

18 Q. Can you remember specifically what Rosemary Nelson said

19 about the types of allegation they were, whether or not

20 they were simply complaints that the police hadn't been

21 polite to her or whether they went beyond that towards

22 threats to her person, or whether or not they were

23 through her clients or directly to herself?

24 A. I refer to my previous answer that I was not aware of

25 the nature of the threats that -- of the allegations or





1 complaints that she made.

2 Q. Now, in your statement, you say that -- and this is

3 paragraph 16 -- the Secretary of State was already aware

4 of Rosemary Nelson's background. What do you mean by

5 that?

6 A. I mean that she knew who Rosemary Nelson was, probably

7 in more detail than I did.

8 Q. In what sense?

9 A. In the sense that she probably knew more about

10 Rosemary Nelson than I did.

11 Q. Well, the detail of what she knew. What do you mean by

12 that? She was a solicitor. Did she know who she

13 represented?

14 A. She knew that Rosemary Nelson was a solicitor. She knew

15 that she represented Duffy because that was in the

16 material that I put in front of her. I cannot recall

17 what else she knew about Rosemary Nelson or what she may

18 have specifically said at this particular meeting.

19 Q. Can we draw the inference from this note of the

20 conversation that the Secretary of State saw

21 Rosemary Nelson as being anti-police or hostile towards

22 the police?

23 A. Well, I think the fact that -- it is a reasonable

24 inference for you to draw. I think the fact was that

25 Rosemary Nelson was making such allegations. The





1 Secretary of State would have been concerned both that

2 such allegations were being made, but also about the

3 nature and substance of those allegations.

4 Q. Now, in advising her, presumably she would have wanted

5 to know a bit more about Rosemary Nelson. We have

6 talked about the cases of alleged harassment and so on,

7 but what also comes through from the application is that

8 Special Branch have information about her, intelligence

9 about her, which says that she is more than simply

10 a solicitor who makes allegations of harassment, that

11 she has a closer relationship with the Republican

12 movement.

13 Is that something which either the Secretary of

14 State was aware of or which you advised her about?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Do you think that was pertinent to consideration of this

17 operation?

18 A. No.

19 Q. Why not?

20 A. Because the operation was targeted on Colin Duffy. He

21 was the target of the operation. The intelligence case

22 against him met the threshold for such a technical

23 operation. I'm quite clear that there was no

24 intelligence case for any such operation targeted on

25 Rosemary Nelson.





1 Q. But she is featuring quite significantly in the

2 discussions with the Secretary of State. There is

3 barely any mention of Colin Duffy at all in this loose

4 minute or in some of the other documents we have seen;

5 the focus is entirely on Rosemary Nelson?

6 A. You will also see recorded there that the Secretary of

7 State accepted the case against Duffy. What she was

8 concerned about was -- and if you like, it was very much

9 her concern for the politics, as you call it. Politics

10 was not primarily my concern. My concern was to ensure

11 that she was properly advised: she took the judgment on

12 the politics. This was an issue of concern to her.

13 Q. But even if the target were Colin Duffy, if

14 Rosemary Nelson is featuring to this extent in the

15 discussions with the Secretary of State, would it not

16 have been appropriate for you to have advised her of

17 what was known about Rosemary Nelson from the

18 intelligence community in Northern Ireland?

19 A. I repeat, Rosemary Nelson was not germane to the

20 intelligence case against Duffy. She did not feature as

21 part of the intelligence case against Duffy.

22 Her relationship to this application was because of

23 her ownership of the property and the fact that she was,

24 in effect, high profile, and that there was this

25 proposition that she might be, because of her alleged





1 relationship with Duffy, a regular visitor to the

2 property.

3 Q. Did you discuss this application with the

4 Chief Constable?

5 A. I can't recall -- yes, I did, I believe I did. I can't

6 recall whether there was a document that shows this or

7 not.

8 Q. Just --

9 A. I do think --

10 Q. -- relying first on your recollection for the purposes

11 of giving evidence today, rather than the documentary,

12 if we may, can you remember the conversation with the

13 Chief Constable?

14 A. I would prefer to go to the documentary record, if

15 possible.

16 Q. I don't think there is a note of a conversation with the

17 Chief Constable.

18 A. Okay, but I think there is reference of my intention to

19 speak to the Chief Constable.

20 Q. There is.

21 A. I would expect, therefore, that I had discussed it with

22 him because of the reaction of the Secretary of State.

23 And the second part of this minute that is on the

24 screen, I believe, refers to the requirements I placed

25 back to the RUC to keep me fully informed of progress on





1 the case.

2 I am confident, but I cannot now recall that I would

3 have mentioned this to the Chief Constable.

4 Q. We can see in paragraph 4, which is overleaf, that

5 intention. It says:

6 "I had spoken personally to the Head of

7 Special Branch and intended to mention it to the

8 Chief Constable in recognition of the sensitivities."

9 A. Thank you. If it was my intention, then I am satisfied

10 that I would have done so, but I cannot recall the

11 specific conversation with the Chief Constable. I

12 cannot, therefore, tell you what he might have said. I

13 cannot recall my conversation.

14 Q. Can you recall the conversation you had with the Head of

15 Special Branch, which may have been a more detailed one?

16 A. I can recall only that which is reminded to me by what

17 is contained in my records. I cannot remember the

18 precise conversation that I had with the

19 Chief Constable -- with the Head of Special Branch. You

20 will understand that I spoke to the Head of

21 Special Branch on probably a daily basis.

22 Q. However, this appears to be an exceptional case,

23 doesn't it?

24 A. You will also see from the record that I ensured -- and

25 there are other documents that support this -- that





1 I ensured that the RUC understood that the Secretary of

2 State accepted the strength of the intelligence case but

3 retained some anxieties and reservations, that she

4 wished to be kept informed of all progress and

5 developments in the case and that she wished at the

6 earliest possible opportunity to see the new

7 arrangements agreed with Lord Nolan for the handling of

8 material which might be of legal professional privilege.

9 Q. Did you keep her abreast of the developments in the

10 case?

11 A. Such as they were. My recollection is that there were

12 none. It's my recollection that I shared with her the

13 proposed legal professional privilege guidelines.

14 Q. That is correct. And in fact there is no need to take

15 you through all the pathway of those guidelines, but I

16 am interested in any further conversation you may have

17 had with the Secretary of State about this application

18 and whether or not you can recollect the content of

19 those conversations?

20 A. Since the operation, to my recollection, did not

21 proceed, it is unlikely that I had the need to have

22 further conversations with the Secretary of State. If

23 there was a revalidation, then I would have had to at

24 least brief her on the reasons for why we had not yet

25 been able to progress the operation. I cannot now





1 recall what those were.

2 Q. There is another application which I would like you to

3 look at, please, that we can find at RNI-542-259.500

4 (displayed). This, as the subject matter says, is an

5 application for a telephone intercept on Rosemary Nelson

6 at 8a William Street, Lurgan. It is written to the

7 Detective Inspector of Special Branch by one of his

8 detectives, and I believe you have seen this document

9 prior to giving evidence today. Is that correct?

10 A. I first saw this document this morning when you showed

11 it to me.

12 Q. It is a three-page document and it relates to an

13 application by Lurgan Special Branch to intercept one of

14 her telephones in the context of Drumcree in order to

15 gain intelligence on that.

16 It doesn't appear from the documents the Inquiry has

17 seen that this application progressed either within

18 Special Branch or within the Security Service, but could

19 you confirm that you have not heard of such an

20 application?

21 A. The first I was aware that there was any such

22 application had been made was when I read earlier

23 testimony to this Inquiry.

24 Q. We discussed the warranty in relation to technical

25 devices and in particular property warrants and your





1 liaison with the Secretary of State in relation to that.

2 Did a similar process operate in relation to telephone

3 interceptions?

4 A. The processes were very similar.

5 Q. In what way were they different?

6 A. There was no involvement of the Security Service

7 technical team in applications for telephone

8 interception, so the applications were prepared and

9 generated by the RUC. They then came to my

10 representative at Police Headquarters; that is, if they

11 were to be proceeded with. And he would then take

12 whatever action was necessary before passing them to me

13 to take to the Secretary of State for signature.

14 Q. Now, can we assume from the fact that you have no

15 recollection of this and the fact that your role was to

16 in effect sign off these documents and advise the

17 Secretary of State on whether or not to sign the

18 warrant, that this warrant in fact didn't get progressed

19 beyond this stage?

20 A. To the best of my knowledge, neither I nor any of my

21 staff were ever aware that this application was

22 considered, and I'm quite clear having read the document

23 this morning that if it had reached us, it would not

24 have reached the threshold.

25 Q. Why do you say that?





1 A. The intelligence case is not strong enough.

2 Q. In what way?

3 A. It simply does not meet a threshold for a national

4 security warrant under the then legislation, which

5 requires the warrant to be necessary and proportionate.

6 It did not meet the criteria of the Interception of

7 Communications Act.

8 Q. Looking at the second page, which is

9 page RNI-542-259.501 (displayed), there are just two

10 paragraphs I would like you just to look at in the

11 context of the answer you have just given. The first

12 paragraph says:

13 "Nelson is undoubtedly a significant personality in

14 the Drumcree situation, where she is readily available

15 to offer her expert advice to Breandan Mac Cionnaith and

16 Colin Duffy, two of her closest associates at this time.

17 She also prepares statements on Mac Cionnaith's behalf

18 for issuing to the media."

19 It then goes on to say that:

20 "It is assessed that a telephone intercept against

21 Nelson's office at this time would produce valuable

22 intelligence to greatly assist Special Branch in keeping

23 abreast of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition's views

24 and plans towards the ongoing development."

25 Now, when you gave your answer about it not meeting





1 the threshold, are you saying that that requirement,

2 which they are articulating there, was insufficient?

3 A. I am.

4 Q. Why?

5 A. Because a warrant application has to be necessary for

6 the purposes of national security. That does not make

7 a case of necessity against any judgment which I ever

8 applied of national security.

9 Q. Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will have a 20-minute break.

11 Mr (name redacted), before the witness leaves, would you

12 please confirm that all the cameras have been

13 switched off?

14 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

16 We will say 25 past three.

17 (3.07 pm)

18 (Short break)

19 (3.25 pm)

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

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

22 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

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

24 screen closed?

25 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.





1 THE CHAIRMAN: The technical support screens in place and

2 securely fastened?

3 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

5 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

6 of this chamber?

7 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

9 Mr (name redacted), the two witness cameras have been

10 switched off and shrouded?

11 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

13 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

15 Bring the witness in, please.

16 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

17 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

18 switched back on.

19 Questions by THE CHAIRMAN

20 Before Mr Skelton continues asking you some

21 questions, there are a few matters that I would like to

22 ask you about. I know that you are trying hard to help

23 us as far as you can openly and frankly, but I want you

24 to try and bring alive the meeting you had with the

25 Secretary of State in relation to the Indus application.





1 You described her being, on occasions, volatile and

2 emotional. Was this one of those occasions?

3 A. I regret to say, Chairman, that I cannot recall the

4 particular conversation and occasion with any

5 exactitude. I think it likely that she was indeed

6 concerned about the issues and I think that is the

7 burden of the note that I wrote. And, indeed, the

8 emphasis that that note places on Rosemary Nelson, which

9 the questions have brought out, reflected that that was

10 the issue on which she was focused.

11 So I think the question of the intelligence case was

12 not for her a point of any difficulty at all. But I can

13 only really remind myself from the written record. I

14 can't picture beyond a generic picture of such

15 occasions.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Did she mention Rosemary Nelson's involvement

17 in Garvaghy Road with you?

18 A. I'm doing my very best to help you. I cannot recall the

19 precise conversation we had. I think it unlikely.

20 Garvaghy Road was not an issue in which -- of which

21 I had much knowledge or interest. It was not --

22 THE CHAIRMAN: It was something that was of great concern to

23 the Secretary of State and public order in

24 Northern Ireland, wasn't it?

25 A. Indeed. My concerns were for national security, not





1 directly for public order.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Did she say that she had had a large number

3 of representations from outside bodies about

4 Rosemary Nelson and her security?

5 A. I think it in the highest degree, unlikely but I have to

6 say, Chairman, I cannot recall the precise conversation.

7 The nature of conversations I had with the Secretary

8 of State tended to stick very closely indeed to the

9 intelligence issues. If, indeed, those were issues in

10 her mind, they were not issues that she would have

11 necessarily thought it appropriate to discuss with me

12 since they fell well outside my responsibilities.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: One of the Secretary of State's

14 characteristics might be described as she was a fairly

15 uninhibited talker?

16 A. Indeed, on occasions she was.

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Didn't she mention that she had had serious

18 representations from bodies like Amnesty International

19 and American associations?

20 A. I cannot recall her doing so, and I have to repeat: I

21 cannot recall the precise conversation. But I have to

22 say again, sir, that such issues were not relevant to a

23 national security -- an application on grounds of

24 national security for a technical operation against

25 Colin Duffy. This was not an operation in any way aimed





1 at Rosemary Nelson. She was not the issue; she was an

2 actor in relation to the application that we needed to

3 consider as part of the context, but she was not the

4 target and, therefore, was not a matter of intelligence

5 interest directly to me.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: But the Secretary of State would not have the

7 focused and closed mind that you would have on the

8 matter in issue. She would think far more widely about

9 the subject and speak about it more widely,

10 wouldn't she?

11 A. I'm not sure what more you think I can say since I

12 cannot recall the precise conversation --

13 THE CHAIRMAN: I'm sure you are racking your brains to

14 remember this incident.

15 A. Indeed, sir, but you have to recall that I had

16 conversations over a period of more than two years on

17 a weekly basis at least with secretaries of state on

18 a substantial number of applications of which

19 a considerable proportion had issues that I would need

20 to discuss with her.

21 I am afraid the fact that I cannot remember this or

22 the precise conversations about any other application is

23 not in any way remarkable. I can only rely on my

24 written record. I can assure you, sir, that I was

25 scrupulous in recording matters of relevance and I'm not





1 suggesting that my mind was closed. What I'm suggesting

2 is that the conversation related to the propriety of her

3 signing this warrant application.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: And this would have been the only

5 conversation, would it, that you would have had with the

6 Secretary of State about Rosemary Nelson and

7 Colin Duffy? On no other occasion would you?

8 A. I would not have had any reason to discuss

9 Rosemary Nelson with the Secretary of State on any other

10 occasion. It is possible that I discussed Colin Duffy

11 because he was undoubtedly a target who met criteria for

12 national security interest. I'm sorry I can't be more

13 helpful.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: When Rosemary Nelson was murdered, didn't it

15 come back to you then, the fact that you had had this

16 discussion with the Secretary of State only a matter of

17 around about six months earlier, seven months earlier?

18 A. Of course I recalled that we had had conversations in

19 the context of this warrant application, but if I may

20 remind you of my responsibilities. They were the

21 responsibility for public safety, for the safety of

22 individuals, for the investigation of crime. Indeed,

23 the intelligence lead lay with the police service.

24 My role was as an adviser. I had no

25 responsibilities directly for public safety or for the





1 safety of individuals. I certainly recalled the

2 conversation. I recalled the existence of the

3 operational plan or the application.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: The Secretary of State was clearly concerned

5 about this application and asked you to discuss it with

6 the Chief Constable, and you believe you must have done?

7 A. I do believe I must have done. I believe that I would

8 have suggested to her the desirability of discussing it

9 with the Chief Constable.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Again, Sir Ronnie Flanagan is a man who is

11 open and not uninhibited in his conversation. He

12 certainly wouldn't be with you, would he?

13 A. I'm not sure whether I can agree or disagree with that

14 question, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Do you remember anything about the

16 conversation you had with the Chief Constable

17 following --

18 A. In relation to this matter, I have no precise

19 recollection of the conversation. I'm sorry, there is

20 only so many ways that I can say that I do not recall

21 a conversation eight years ago on a matter when I had

22 regular conversations with the Chief Constable. I had

23 regular conversations with the Permanent Secretary.

24 It was my practice, as the record shows, to record

25 matters of significance. You have those in front of





1 you. I can only speak to those reports. I cannot

2 remember the specifics of the conversation.

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Do you recall at all his attitude with regard

4 to Rosemary Nelson?

5 A. No, sir.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Not at all?

7 A. No, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: You didn't sort of think about it again after

9 her murder?

10 A. No, sir. I have no recollection of the specifics of

11 conversations that I had with the Chief Constable.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Skelton will continue the questioning.

13 Yes?

14 Questions by MR SKELTON (continued)

15 MR SKELTON: Sir, to conclude a line of questioning which

16 you yourself have asked, may I have on screen document

17 RNI-531-116 (displayed)?

18 Now, this may be a document, I am afraid, which the

19 witness has not seen prior to today, but it is relevant

20 to one of the answers he gave earlier about the issue of

21 revalidation. The document's date, we can see in

22 manuscript, is 22 February 1999, and in effect it is the

23 revalidation of the Indus application, which we

24 understand hadn't gone ahead but needed to be

25 revalidated as a matter of procedural propriety on





1 a six-monthly basis.

2 Does it follow from this that you would have

3 a further conversation with the Secretary of State in

4 order to ensure or gain this revalidation?

5 A. May I ask to see a paper copy of this document and to

6 read it in full before I answer the question? Indeed, I

7 think I would need to see the unredacted version if you

8 wish me to comment.

9 Q. If you feel that's necessary, yes. But I was asking

10 a very simple question as to whether you recall seeing

11 the Secretary of State a second time to discuss the

12 warrant. There is nothing on the face of this

13 application to indicate that you personally had such

14 a discussion, as far as I am aware, but would it have

15 been part of your ordinary duties to have

16 revalidated it?

17 A. It would have been part of my ordinary duties to have

18 taken the instrument, which she would have had to sign,

19 for revalidation.

20 I'm looking quickly -- I might remind you that I'm

21 seeing this document for the first time in seven or

22 eight years. That is undoubtedly my writing beneath the

23 date, it looks like 22/2/1999. I am afraid that my

24 sight is not sufficient for me to read it entirely

25 clearly on the screen, hence my request for a written





1 copy.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Can that be provided?

3 A. But I can say with some confidence that that date is

4 mine, which means that I saw it, I would have submitted

5 it to the Secretary of State. The document of record

6 would be the warrant revalidation --


8 A. -- instrument.

9 MR SKELTON: I think what we will do, sir, is that we will

10 provide the witness with a copy of what we call the

11 "grey version", which is a version that shows the

12 redactions. I anticipate we will have a very short

13 break before the conclusion of the witness's evidence.

14 That may be an appropriate moment for him to review it

15 and answer any questions.


17 MR SKELTON: There is one final issue on the Indus

18 application which I would like to deal with with you, if

19 I may, and that's to go back to your loose minute, which

20 we've seen on a number of occasions, at RNI-531-128

21 (displayed).

22 What I didn't ask you about were the copyees of this

23 minute. It is from you to Director A, but it is copied

24 to DGPS and LA. Who were those people, please?

25 A. DGPS refers to the private secretary to the director





1 general, which was a means of ensuring that the director

2 general would see it because I have no doubt the private

3 secretary would place it in front of him.

4 LA stands for "legal adviser". I thought it

5 appropriate to keep my senior management and the

6 Security Service's legal advisers in the picture in

7 relation to this particular warrant. In relation to any

8 legal issues raised by any warrant, I sought advice from

9 the Service's legal advisers.

10 Q. Was it ordinarily the case that the director general

11 would be apprised of operations?

12 A. I don't believe it was ordinarily the case.

13 Q. Why in this case did you decide to apprise her of this?

14 A. I think I was not apprising -- I suspect it was him.

15 I suspect I was not apprising him of the operation, I

16 was apprising him of the issues that arose from it.

17 The operation itself, if you will recall, was

18 conducted by staff reporting to a different director.

19 Any reporting in relation to the conduct of the

20 operation, the safety of the operation, or issues raised

21 by the operation itself would be his responsibility. I

22 was reporting -- may I see the rest of the document on

23 the screen?

24 I was reporting primarily to Director A the

25 conversations that I had had. I felt it appropriate





1 that the director general and the legal adviser should

2 also be aware of the issues that had been raised in my

3 conversation with the Secretary of State and that they

4 should be aware of the line that I had taken.

5 Q. Did you have a discussion with your director general

6 about this application?

7 A. I cannot recall whether I did or did not. It is

8 entirely possible that I did.

9 Q. Is it likely that you did, given that you had considered

10 it political ramifications at the very highest level

11 with the Chief Constable and with the Secretary of

12 State?

13 A. It is possible that I did. I cannot say -- I think it

14 is possible. I cannot say whether I did or didn't.

15 Q. Did you ordinarily have conversations with the director

16 general about warrant applications or were there

17 particular circumstances where you felt it was necessary

18 to do so?

19 A. I would only raise matters with the director general

20 where I felt that they were of significance and where in

21 particular they bore on my relationship with the

22 Secretary of State.

23 He had a separate relationship with the Secretary

24 of State in relation to the work that the Security

25 Service did in Northern Ireland, and he saw her





1 periodically. I believed that it was appropriate that

2 he was aware of the conversation that I had had with the

3 Secretary of State. As far as I can recall, there was

4 no reaction to this or suggestion that he thought that I

5 had done anything than deal entirely appropriately with

6 the issues.

7 Q. Now, is one of the reasons you would have copied him in,

8 as well as the legal privilege issue, but the political,

9 as I have termed it, issue; in other words, that there

10 were possible ramifications or criticisms of the

11 security forces were this operation to be compromised,

12 which could flare up and be directed towards the

13 Security Service as well as the RUC?

14 A. There were ramifications from any compromise of any

15 operation. As I said in my earlier answer, this one

16 raised more significant issues than some, but not all,

17 of such operations.

18 The reason that I raised it or copied it into the

19 director general -- and you note that it is copied

20 rather than directed personally to him -- was that

21 I felt he needed to be aware of the conversation that I

22 had had with the source. It was not impossible that the

23 Secretary of State would keep it in her mind and raise

24 it with him were he to be having a bilateral with her.

25 Q. How did you hear about Rosemary Nelson's death?





1 A. I cannot recall. I imagine it was either on the news or

2 the newspapers.

3 Q. Did you speak to the Secretary of State about it?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Did you provide any advice about the murder to the

6 Northern Ireland Office?

7 A. I can't remember at what stage there was intelligence

8 that might have been made available, but my role was to

9 provide intelligence advice. So if there was

10 intelligence that could inform or enlighten or explain,

11 then that was my role. My role was not to investigate

12 or to brief the Secretary on terrorist activity.

13 Q. Well, there is some intelligence that we have possession

14 of. You have not seen it for the purpose of giving your

15 statement and I'm not proposing to put it to you now,

16 but intelligence does come into the RUC from its assets

17 which bears upon Rosemary Nelson's death.

18 Did you see that intelligence, either in its

19 original form or did you receive a gist of it?

20 A. The intelligence that I would have seen is the

21 intelligence that was reported in the form of

22 Northern Ireland intelligence reports, of which there

23 were a number, which made reference to the murder,

24 either directly or because it was a matter of discussion

25 between two parties.





1 There were a number of such reports. I will have

2 seen all those reports. In some circumstances, I may

3 have seen the original reporting, but in most cases

4 I saw the Northern Ireland intelligence report, which

5 was the report that was prepared by my staff, by

6 Assessments Group under the guidance of the Head of

7 Assessments Group, and was disseminated to appropriate

8 readers in Government and in the security and

9 intelligence agencies.

10 Q. Can you recall providing advice to the

11 Northern Ireland Office specifically about

12 Rosemary Nelson's murder having reviewed any reporting

13 that had been passed in front of you?

14 A. I can recall us passing intelligence. I cannot recall

15 being asked for any specific advice that went beyond the

16 intelligence that we had provided, other than the point

17 at which we were consulted on the -- and this, again, is

18 one of the documents in the bundle, I can't remember

19 which one -- which relates to the -- I can't remember

20 the precise term, but the organisation which was thought

21 to be responsible. There is a document that refers to

22 the organisation. I forget where it is.

23 Q. You may be thinking of the Red Hand Defenders, are you?

24 A. I probably am. If we can find the document, I could

25 refer back to that.





1 We were asked for advice at that point, clearly, on

2 the nature of this organisation and a view of its role

3 in the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

4 Q. And aside from that, would you have had any advisory

5 role in relation to its ongoing investigation?

6 A. None at all.

7 Q. When you heard of the murder and had some time to think

8 about it, was your concern that there may be

9 ramifications in terms of allegations of collusion by

10 your staff or intelligence gathering staff within the

11 RUC or the Army?

12 A. My immediate concern was for what was probably the

13 highest priority intelligence requirement at that time,

14 which was what impact this might have on the volatile

15 and fragile state of the peace process. And clearly an

16 important issue in that was to be as clear, as accurate

17 as possible, as the intelligence would allow. And you

18 will appreciate that intelligence is often fragmentary

19 and incomplete, but to provide the best possible

20 intelligence on the likely attribution, the likely

21 responsibility, the individuals or the group likely to

22 have carried out the murder.

23 Q. What did you consider to be the potential consequences

24 for the peace process of this death?

25 A. It was clearly an issue which would further polarise





1 communities and raise tensions, particularly if there

2 were suggestions that it was sectarian or, as later

3 became clear, there were allegations of collusion.

4 Q. Now, my original question focused on a potential

5 response to allegations of collusion, which started

6 relatively early after the death. Do you remember those

7 allegations being circulated?

8 A. I can't remember with precision, but I am aware that

9 there were suggestions at some point. I can't precisely

10 time them in date.

11 Q. The minister who gave evidence a few days ago,

12 Adam Ingram, said that he appreciated immediately that

13 an aspect of the political implications would be

14 allegations of collusion, an allegation that the State

15 somehow failed to do something, not least because there

16 had been warnings that Rosemary Nelson was at risk prior

17 to her death.

18 Did you become aware, after her death, that there

19 had been these concerns?

20 A. Which concerns? Of collusion or of risks to her?

21 Q. Both.

22 A. I think I have answered the second question, which

23 was -- well, I became aware that there were suggestions

24 of collusion or there my might be suggestions of

25 collusion only after her death. It is a bit difficult





1 to imagine how they could be prior to that.

2 I do not recall whether I was aware of any

3 suggestions of threats to her safety. My responsibility

4 in respect of any such intelligence if there were any,

5 or any suggestions of such kind, would be to ensure that

6 the police, the RUC, were aware of such intelligence.

7 The action to be taken on that was a matter for the

8 police service, not for my service, which had no

9 responsibilities, no resources, no assets, no capability

10 operationally.

11 Q. In consideration of the collusion point, did it cross

12 your mind that your service would be the target for an

13 allegation of collusion?

14 A. I don't recall that I considered that to be a serious

15 possibility. There were some issues that arose later in

16 relation to some of the enquiries made by Colin Port,

17 where I was concerned to ensure that the fullest

18 possible account of the Service's activities in the

19 Province at relevant times were made available to him so

20 that he should not be under any misapprehension in

21 relation to our activity.

22 Q. I will come on to that. But first of all, I would like

23 to focus on a particular issue which did come to your

24 attention, and that was shortly after the murder. We

25 can find that at RNI-532-012 (displayed). The date of





1 this loose minute is 19 March 1999, so four days after

2 the murder. It is from the Head of the Assessments

3 Group, who is one of your staff, to you, and the subject

4 is "Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy" quite specifically.

5 The detail of that, we can see now from the

6 highlighted page, is about contact between the Permanent

7 Undersecretary of the Northern Ireland Office and the

8 Head of the Assessments Group, and the fact that the

9 Permanent Undersecretary had contacted the Head of the

10 Assessments Group at home on 17 March to say that he was

11 concerned about:

12 "... the possibility of the allegation that Nelson

13 had had a sexual relationship with Colin Duffy breaking

14 publicly, which could exacerbate the difficulties of the

15 current situation and heap even more opprobrium on the

16 RUC."

17 And the response, it appears from this loose minute,

18 is that:

19 "I pointed out that there had already been some

20 hints about the nature of the relationship in the local

21 press."

22 It goes on to say that:

23 "The Permanent Undersecretary had asked for any

24 insight that could be provided in relation to this issue

25 and in particular how precise was the information that





1 the pair had had a sexual relationship, how widely was

2 this information within the RUC intelligence community

3 and references in the press to allegations of the

4 relationship."

5 Now, did you become involved or were you apprised of

6 this request from the Permanent Undersecretary?

7 A. The minute records the information given to me. I

8 cannot recall whether I was perhaps away and that caused

9 the Permanent Secretary to speak to the Head of

10 Assessments staff rather than to me in the first place.

11 But this seemed to me a complete -- that he had

12 responded effectively and appropriately to the questions

13 put to him by the Permanent Secretary.

14 So, in effect, I believe that he had provided the

15 information that the Permanent Secretary had sought.

16 Q. Is this a proper use of the Security Service's time, to

17 advise on an issue like this, which is clearly an almost

18 purely political issue?

19 A. I think that the Permanent Secretary was -- he was

20 seeking a degree of insight into the information. I

21 think he was concerned, if you look at the second of the

22 questions, about how widely this was known within the

23 intelligence community and the extent to which,

24 therefore, material from intelligence might have been

25 circulating.





1 So I think these were proper questions for him to

2 put to a member of my staff, who provided something of

3 a bridge between Assessment staff and the Northern

4 Ireland Office.

5 Q. It is not an issue of national security, is it?

6 A. I felt, nevertheless, they were proper questions for him

7 to ask my staff. We were not being asked to

8 investigate, to commit resources, or to do any other

9 intrusive activity. He was simply being asked what

10 information he had from intelligence or other sources.

11 Given, as you have commented on a number of

12 occasions, the importance and the high profile of this

13 murder, it seems to me reasonable and proper that the

14 Permanent Secretary should seek information from those

15 who might have been in a position to provide it.

16 Q. What it goes on to say is that:

17 "[Blank] had provided pretty definitive confirmation

18 of and insight into the nature of the relationship

19 between Nelson and Duffy."

20 Then:

21 "Assessments Group staff recall ..."

22 Then a passage is redacted, but the sentence ends:

23 "... the pair arranging to meet to have sex. Their

24 recollection was that the relationship had appeared to

25 come to an end 'about a year ago'."





1 How did your Assessments Group come to this

2 conclusion?

3 A. I don't see how I can answer that in open session.

4 Q. Well, can you tell us whether the intelligence that

5 forms the basis for this conclusion comes from the RUC

6 as opposed to from the Security Service?

7 A. You are placing me in some difficulty in relation to

8 answering this question.

9 Q. Because to give that answer, you would have to explain

10 details of operations which are sensitive?

11 A. No, you are placing me in some difficulty. I really

12 can't answer further without going into material which

13 would need to be dealt with in private session. Hence

14 the redaction.

15 What is redacted, as I recall, explains precisely

16 how they knew. I do not believe that I can speak to

17 what is under the redaction in open session.

18 Q. Were you aware of that intelligence prior to this date?

19 A. Probably not precisely, but I was aware of the

20 conclusions or the proposition, as we have already

21 discussed, that there was a sexual relationship between

22 Duffy and Nelson, Rosemary Nelson.

23 Q. How did you know that was true?

24 A. I think we probably have to accept that this is

25 intelligence. The nature of the source, which I'm not





1 able to discuss, was such that this was likely to be

2 true. We are not talking about evidence; we are talking

3 about intelligence. Intelligence was from a source that

4 was likely to be accurate in this case.

5 Q. You are satisfied by the conclusion expressed by your

6 Head of Assessments Group in this loose minute?

7 A. I'm satisfied by his conclusion.

8 Q. In relation to the murder itself, so far as you are

9 aware, was there any intelligence prior to the murder to

10 suggest that Rosemary Nelson would be targeted or

11 killed?

12 A. I was not aware of any such intelligence.

13 Q. Did you, after the murder, direct any of your assets to

14 be tasked to find out who was responsible?

15 A. You will recall from my previous answer that I had no

16 direct control over any intelligence collection assets.

17 What, nevertheless, we did -- and this will take us

18 into discussions at the intelligence review committee --

19 was to ensure that -- well, that this formed part of the

20 priorities for intelligence collection by those agencies

21 which did have intelligence collection assets to deploy.

22 Q. It is a bit more complicated than that, isn't it? Your

23 Assessments Group staff, two of whom have given

24 evidence, had a very close working relationship with the

25 handlers of your agents and it was an ongoing dialogue.





1 They would receive intelligence very regularly, they

2 would assess it, they would have a chat with the

3 handler, they would ask for some more intelligence on

4 particular topics.

5 So in fact it is more -- not necessarily at the high

6 level intelligence review committee, but actually within

7 the Assessments Group, there was a capability to ask for

8 intelligence on particular topics, and it is that

9 question which I would like you to answer, please.

10 A. I'm sorry, that would appear to be a statement. I was

11 answering what my responsibilities were.

12 Yes, indeed, at desk level in the Assessment Group,

13 part of their role was to liaise wherever possible with

14 those who were directing human resources to ensure that

15 they produced intelligence, took briefs, to meet current

16 and sometimes quite rapidly changing requirements.

17 Q. Did they do so in this case?

18 A. I cannot say so because those staff were the

19 responsibility of the Head of Assessments Group in whom

20 I had very, very considerable faith. And I would have

21 been extremely surprised if they were not talking to any

22 handlers, any agent handlers who they believed might be

23 able to shed light on these circumstances.

24 Q. It might be said that there were reasons why you might

25 not want to actively task your assets, and the obvious





1 reason might be it is not the Security Service's role to

2 investigate murders?

3 A. You are making a probably -- a distinction between --

4 let's go back to the intelligence. What our role was --

5 what my role was, was to encourage the collection of

6 intelligence for purposes of national security, which

7 can be, in this case, divided into two kinds: that which

8 supports the protection of life and property, that which

9 deals with threats to persons and property; and that, in

10 these particular circumstances, which might threaten the

11 peace process.

12 Clearly also, if we are -- if sources were able to

13 obtain intelligence retrospective to events such as

14 a murder, then that was important information that could

15 be fed into the police and into whatever process they

16 had for ensuring that it was reflected to any

17 investigative team. But that criminal investigative

18 process was a matter for the police.

19 My role, our role -- my role -- and I do distinguish

20 it in part from the Security Service role -- my role was

21 to ensure that all intelligence resources were tasked to

22 the best possible effect to produce relevant

23 intelligence to meet Government intelligence

24 requirements and priorities, to meet the need of the RUC

25 for pre-emptive intelligence or, as in this case, any





1 intelligence that might shed light on the perpetrators

2 of the attack. Such intelligence would not be a matter

3 of evidence, but might be sufficient to lead

4 investigators to material that could be used

5 evidentially.

6 Q. And it would ordinarily be the case, would it, that such

7 intelligence would get passed to the investigating

8 officers, the police?

9 A. I cannot answer that. That would be a matter for the

10 police to answer.

11 Q. Are you aware of the suggestion that members of the

12 security forces, which would broadly include the

13 Security Service, the Army or the RUC, facilitated

14 Rosemary Nelson's murder, either by providing

15 information about her to paramilitaries or passively, by

16 suppressing information which could or should have led

17 to her being warned or protected? Have you considered

18 that suggestion?

19 A. I mean, firstly, I would say that the term "security

20 forces" was not normally taken to include the Security

21 Service, whose role was purely covert. But, yes, I was

22 aware that there were such allegations.

23 Q. What was your response to them?

24 A. I mean, that is such a general question. I cannot

25 recall what my reaction was. I had no doubt about the





1 role that my own service -- about the role and

2 responsibilities of my own service, and I was clear that

3 there was no information available to me about -- that

4 would support any such allegation of collusion. I

5 cannot say what other reactions I might have had.

6 Q. For example, did you consider that the allegations of

7 collusion may have been politically motivated rather

8 than based on substance?

9 A. That is a possible conclusion. I cannot recall what

10 conclusions I might have reached.

11 Q. Were allegations of collusion, as it were, standard in

12 relation to high profile murders in Northern Ireland?

13 A. I cannot honestly answer that. I think -- I mean, there

14 were occasions, clearly, when allegations of collusion

15 were made. Whether they were standard, I'm not sure I

16 can answer.

17 Q. One of your roles as a covert intelligence gathering

18 agency is to find out about the intentions of

19 paramilitary groups. Was it, as far as you were aware,

20 one of their intentions to make unfounded allegations

21 against the security forces about murder and collusion?

22 A. I don't think probably the intelligence was clear that

23 that was their precise intention. Clearly there were

24 opportunities for causing dissension and trouble which

25 could be exploited. I don't think the intelligence was





1 clear on whether this was deliberate.

2 Q. Do you have a view on the allegations of collusion such

3 as they are in the context of this Inquiry?

4 A. No, I don't.

5 Q. May I turn now to the Port investigation, with which you

6 had some involvement? May I look, first, at RNI 532-038

7 (displayed)?

8 Now, this is a minute from you to Director A, dated

9 21 April 1999, and copied to Director T, legal adviser,

10 the DCI Rep Knock, and to the witness who gave evidence

11 today who is from A Branch.

12 The detail of that is a request for support in

13 a line the Head of Special Branch is proposing to take

14 in relation to access by Colin Port, who was the head of

15 the murder investigation, to intelligence material.

16 Before we get into the detail of that, do you recall

17 having discussions with the Head of Special Branch about

18 Mr Port's access?

19 A. I do, but not in detail. This note, as was my practice,

20 as I stated previously, was to record relevant material

21 from such conversations. So my recollection is really

22 based on a re-reading of this note.

23 Q. And what ordinarily were the protocols for allowing

24 access to murder investigations to your assets, your

25 intelligence? You can see there that there is





1 a reference to the approach he is planning to take being

2 similar to the model followed by T Branch in

3 Great Britain. And you go on to say:

4 "We were grateful for the briefing DCI Rep was able

5 to get from T Branch."

6 What is that model?

7 A. I don't think that I am probably competent to answer

8 that question. It was not part of my role and

9 responsibilities to deal with that particular issue in

10 Northern Ireland, and I suggest that you'd get the most

11 complete answer by addressing it to the relevant

12 director of T Branch.

13 Q. So when you wrote this note, you didn't know what you

14 were talking about?

15 A. When I wrote this note, I noted that it was different

16 from the model operated -- sorry, that what was being

17 proposed was consistent with the model that was operated

18 in Great Britain. I would probably have been briefed on

19 that at the time.

20 What I am recording is that I have no other

21 recollection and that I was not expert in the model

22 followed in Great Britain, whereas people in T Branch

23 were precisely expert in that model. And it might be

24 reasonable to ask for them to give you a reasoned

25 exposition of what that model was.





1 Q. As we progress through some of these documents, it

2 appears to be clear that there is a tension here between

3 Mr Port's request for access to intelligence, covert

4 intelligence from both the RUC and possibly from

5 yourselves, and your willingness to provide it?

6 A. The tension was between his wish for access to

7 intelligence and our concern for the safety and security

8 of long-running intelligence operations.

9 Q. And in relation to this note, which refers to

10 transcripts, what was the Security Service's view on

11 that? That would be transcripts of conversations?

12 A. If there had been relevant transcripts, I would have

13 expected the Service to make that available. I was not

14 in a position to say whether there was relevant

15 transcripts.

16 Q. So somebody in the Service would have assessed whether

17 or not there were transcripts which had relevant

18 material from your assets which should be shown to

19 Mr Port?

20 A. That was the question that I was raising in this minute;

21 I was raising two issues in that particular line. One

22 was the possibility that Security Service staff were

23 active at the relevant time -- and I had no way of

24 knowing whether they were or not because these were not

25 my staff, responsible to me -- and secondly, the





1 possibility -- and note that perhaps there might be

2 relevant transcript. I believe this was a matter that

3 my service should take seriously, and the purpose of

4 this minute was to draw this to my attention.

5 I believe that my service had well founded, well

6 practised and well trusted arrangements for ensuring

7 that relevant material could be identified and

8 arrangements for ensuring that such material could be

9 made available where required.

10 Q. Would they ordinarily be made available to any murder

11 investigation or were there particular murder

12 investigations which attracted a special arrangement?

13 A. It was unusual. It would be unusual for there to be

14 a national security interest in murders. But it was

15 certainly the practice in Great Britain, which is

16 a reference to the model that you referred to, to find

17 a route for ensuring that all relevant material from

18 intelligence that might shed light on a serious crime,

19 most obviously of terrorism, could be made available to

20 the police in a form from which they could hope to

21 develop intelligence that could be used in court.

22 Q. Now, it appears from paragraph 2 of that memo, which we

23 can see there, that there is a particular aspect of --

24 it is called subtext in the memo -- of collusion in

25 relation to the investigation. And it says that:





1 "RUC SB therefore wish to give Port or his nominee

2 sufficient access to potentially relevant material to

3 allow him to form his own opinion with confidence."

4 Was that a view which you considered to be

5 appropriate; in other words, the special aspect of the

6 Rosemary Nelson case, the allegation of collusion

7 possibly by the RUC, possibly by others, should allow

8 further access than would ordinarily be the case?

9 A. That is probably true. I believe -- I do not have in

10 front of me Colin Port's terms of reference, but I

11 suspect that they gave him rather greater rights and

12 access than would normally be the case.

13 Q. Would you have been consulted on that issue?

14 A. No.

15 Q. I used "you" loosely. Do you mean the Service or do you

16 mean yourself personally?

17 A. I can only speak for myself. I was not consulted on the

18 terms of reference or, indeed, the decision to invite

19 Colin Port to undertake the Inquiry. It was no part of

20 my responsibilities.

21 Q. So far as you were aware, had the Prime Minister or the

22 Northern Ireland Office tried to advise you that it

23 would be appropriate to assist Mr Port insofar as you

24 could with his investigations?

25 A. I would have considered it offensive if they thought it





1 necessary to advise me in that way. I was quite clear

2 that my responsibilities were to cooperate as far as

3 possible within the limits of the protection of the life

4 and safety of some of our assets. And there was also an

5 issue about long-term intelligence penetrations and

6 operations.

7 So there needed to be a balance between the need to

8 provide a resolution for the murder inquiry and the need

9 to continue long-term intelligence coverage at a time

10 when there could be no certainty that the peace process

11 was going to hold. That was the balance that I was

12 concerned to make throughout this note and throughout my

13 conversations with Colin Port.

14 Q. May we look, please, at a loose minute dated

15 24 May 1999, which we can find at RNI-532-061

16 (displayed).

17 Now, this is from one of your members of staff,

18 S188, and it is addressed directly to you by fax. It is

19 also copied, we can see there, to the deputy director

20 general or at least his private secretary. To

21 Director T and Director A and the subject matter is "The

22 Rosemary Nelson investigation, some local difficulties".

23 Now, the Inquiry will be hearing in due course from

24 the author of this loose minute, who himself had direct

25 dealings with Colin Port and direct dealings with





1 Special Branch. The background appears to have been

2 a somewhat difficult relationship between South Region's

3 Special Branch and Mr Port's team.

4 Can you tell us more about that, please?

5 A. I can't tell you much more than is contained in the

6 relevant documents. I knew from conversations with

7 Colin Port that he was having difficulty understanding

8 processes and arrangements and ways of doing things that

9 had been developed in Northern Ireland in response to

10 30 years of serious violence and terrorism. He was

11 finding that adjustment difficult.

12 My wish was to help him to understand on the

13 intelligence aspects as far as possible how the

14 intelligence arrangements worked, or were supposed to

15 work, and to some extent to hope that that better

16 understanding could assist him in his relationship with

17 RUC Special Branch.

18 Q. What was the particular problem or difficulty with

19 Northern Ireland that didn't pertain back in

20 Great Britain?

21 A. The most obvious distinction was the role of the RUC

22 as -- the primary role of the RUC in respect of both

23 intelligence and policing, the fact that arising from

24 30 years of violence and terrorist and paramilitary

25 activity, there was a very longstanding and very





1 substantial RUC Special Branch intelligence activity,

2 which had, over that period, built substantial

3 intelligence resources of a technical and human nature

4 that were continuing to provide intelligence which was

5 of very significant importance both to our understanding

6 and ability of the British Government to manage the

7 peace process, and also to deal with continuing threats

8 to life and property arising particularly from those

9 organisations and individuals who were opposed to or

10 wished to disrupt the peace process. For all those

11 reasons, the arrangements in Northern Ireland were

12 unlike those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

13 In Northern Ireland the police had the lead. The

14 Security Service assisted the RUC in some agent

15 operations by running agents directly, but with the

16 knowledge of the RUC. The Security Service, this time

17 A Branch, also carried out technical operations, where

18 they were for matters of national security, on behalf of

19 the RUC. And I acted, as a I have explained already,

20 as, as far as possible, a coordinator amongst the

21 intelligence agencies operating in the Province and

22 a link between those agencies and officials in the

23 Northern Ireland Office and ministers.

24 That is the background. I believe that background

25 was unfamiliar to Colin Port. And he found -- he found





1 the adjustment difficult. He came from an area with no

2 experience or practice of terrorism, and he came

3 somewhere where, until quite recently, at that time,

4 terrorism was a major and substantive issue.

5 These were quite considerable adjustments that he

6 had to make.

7 Q. Now, in your statement at paragraph 28, which we can

8 find on page RNI-844-068 (displayed), you make the point

9 midway through that paragraph -- if we can have that

10 highlighted, please, paragraph 28 -- that they had no

11 experience of handling intelligence and no knowledge of

12 what was potentially at risk.

13 The first part of that sentence: how did you know

14 that they had no experience of handling intelligence?

15 A. I knew from conversations with Colin Port that his --

16 I knew from his background that he himself had little or

17 no experience of intelligence, and my understanding was

18 that his team were -- properly and appropriately were

19 criminal investigators rather than intelligence

20 officers.

21 So my understanding was that he had brought

22 a criminal investigative team or had assembled

23 a criminal investigative team rather than a team that

24 was familiar with the handling of intelligence.

25 Q. Now, the Inquiry understands that Mr Port did at least





1 have some experience of these issues and that he had

2 been involved with South East Regional Crime Squad and

3 had previously worked with the Security Service in

4 relation to particular operations. Were you appraised

5 of that background?

6 A. I can't recall. If that is the case, I stand corrected.

7 He clearly did have some relationship, if he had

8 a relationship, with the Security Service. But my

9 understanding was that he was not someone who had worked

10 in Special Branch or intelligence matters. But if I'm

11 wrong, I stand corrected.

12 Q. In the second part of the sentence you say:

13 "No knowledge of what was potentially at risk."

14 It was, indeed, a steep learning curve, but

15 presumably one of reasons he was discussing matters with

16 you was to start that process and to apprise himself, as

17 anyone working in Northern Ireland must do when working

18 with those matters?

19 A. Indeed.

20 Q. Were you not confident that that had been properly

21 followed?

22 A. I was confident that it had been properly started. I

23 could only give him a strategic view of the possible

24 equities. So the process was starting with that

25 conversation.





1 Q. Did he get to the point, while you were in tenure of the

2 DCI, where he had convinced you that he had sufficient

3 understanding of your equities, as you put it, to be

4 allowed access to them?

5 A. I'm trying to recall the dates because I think --

6 Q. The loose minute is dated 24 May 1999 and the passage in

7 your statement is paragraph 28 on page RNI-844-068

8 (displayed).

9 A. I think I find it very difficult to answer that

10 question. I think the degree of turmoil suggests that,

11 without imputing right to either side, misunderstandings

12 continued for quite some time between the RUC and

13 Colin Port and his inquiry team.

14 Q. Well, were those misunderstandings based on a breakdown

15 of personal relationships between the Inquiry team and

16 South Region's Special Branch, or was it based on actual

17 substantive concerns about his ability to run

18 intelligence operations safely?

19 A. I was concerned about the latter. I suspected that the

20 former was also true.

21 Q. I think we can see, if we follow through this loose

22 minute, that in fact it is the former which it is

23 principally concerned with, albeit that it bears upon

24 the latter indeed. But the first thing we see in the

25 "Summary and Recommendations" section is a mention of:





1 "A high degree of personal antagonism and mistrust

2 between RUC Special Branch, particularly South Region,

3 and the investigation team comprising the intelligence

4 cell and the SIO".

5 A. Can I see that relevant bit of the transcript, please?

6 Q. I'm sorry, could we get rid of paragraph 28 there,

7 please, and go back to RNI-532-061 (displayed)? The

8 passage I was quoting from was at the bottom there,

9 within the summary and recommendations. It was the

10 first of the three areas of concern identified:

11 "The high degree of personal antagonism ... between

12 Special Branch ..."

13 A. This was what S188 -- am I right?

14 Q. Yes.

15 A. This was the conclusion that he reached.

16 Q. It was the conclusion he reached. Firstly, why did the

17 Security Service engage one of its officers in brokering

18 or reconciling two sets of police officers?

19 A. My recollection is that whether or not the idea came

20 from me or from Colin Port, that we thought it might be

21 helpful to him. He was a man I trusted and wished to

22 assist in all possible ways. We believed it might be

23 helpful to him if he had someone as far as possible

24 disinterested, but familiar with intelligence issues and

25 trusted by RUC Special Branch to look into the issues





1 and to report back to me.

2 As I say, I can't remember -- the minute says -- or

3 the note says:

4 "A request from Colin Port to [me]."

5 I can't remember precisely how the idea of

6 requesting someone such as S188 to undertake this

7 work -- precisely how it arose, but it seemed to me

8 a good way of trying to establish precisely what the

9 issues were.

10 So from my part and from Colin Port's part, it was

11 an attempt to establish what the issues were and what

12 might be done about them. And S188 was the instrument

13 by which we were able to get rather better understanding

14 of precisely what those issues were. That's what is in

15 his report.

16 Q. When you spoke to Colin Port about this -- and, as you

17 say, his request appears to be noted at the top there --

18 did he say to you, "I'm having problems with South

19 Region Special Branch. I want to deploy certain assets

20 in order to gather intelligence or gather evidence, in

21 fact, in relation to my investigation and I would like

22 access to your intelligence that you already have about

23 Rosemary Nelson's murder"?

24 A. I can't say whether or not that was precisely what he

25 said, but the -- there was no doubt that he felt it was





1 proving difficult to do the things that he wanted to do,

2 and he was not satisfied that he was getting the

3 cooperation which he required.

4 My concern remained and remains that in doing so --

5 and this is what I explained to him on this occasion and

6 elsewhere -- sorry, not on this occasion, but when

7 I spoke to him -- was that he should understand that

8 there were equities that were of concern and that there

9 was a need to balance the importance of the murder

10 investigation against the need to maintain long-term

11 coverage which had the potential to save future life and

12 preserve property.

13 Q. Your officer makes a note of some of the RUC's perceived

14 problems on page RNI-532-063 of this loose minute. If

15 we could highlight paragraph 8 (displayed)? You can see

16 there that there are four bullet points made. The first is

17 about their capability to handle intelligence product,

18 and it appears to be said that they have leaked

19 intelligence -- this is an intelligence cell -- more

20 widely to the Inquiry team and lack the expertise to

21 convert intelligence into evidence.

22 There is then an issue about officers from the

23 mainland failing to appreciate the local operational

24 environment, which we have already discussed. There is

25 then an issue about:





1 "Members of the Inquiry team treat RUC

2 Special Branch with suspicion ... B629, who is a senior

3 Special Branch officer, is aware of the perception that

4 South Region is holding back intelligence and strongly

5 resents the emphasis being placed on investigating the

6 allegations of SB collusion in the murder."

7 And finally that:

8 "Mr Port is receiving biased advice from his SIO,

9 who was an RUC senior CID officer at this point, who has

10 a grudge against SB and is keen to set precedents

11 regarding the use of intelligence and intelligence

12 gathering resources during this investigation to

13 undermine SB's position in relation to CID."

14 A lot to take in there, but it covers quite a range

15 of problems which seem at first blush to be extremely

16 serious, don't they?

17 A. They were a matter of concern, yes.

18 Q. What was your response?

19 A. Can you remind me of the date of --

20 Q. I believe it is 24 May.

21 A. Do you mind if I find the document in my bundle? I am

22 afraid I have difficulty reading on the screen.

23 Q. It is RNI-532-061 that it starts (displayed), and it

24 goes on for several pages.

25 A. I am afraid that in the absence of any documentary





1 evidence I can't recall precisely what action I took on

2 the basis of this loose minute.

3 Q. So based on your memory of this issue, Colin Port's

4 investigation, your conversations with Colin Port, your

5 conversations with 188, if there is nothing written

6 down, you can't assist us?

7 A. I don't think I can assist you further. What I was

8 trying to recall is whether there were later documents.

9 I believe there is one later document which refers to

10 a conversation with Colin Port.

11 Q. There is a document which I can show you to do with

12 requests for identities. There is another document

13 which you will have seen, which relates to the

14 Port Inquiry seeking advice -- sorry, the RUC South

15 Region seeking advice from the Security Service, which I

16 will come on to.

17 Is either of those the one that you are

18 referring to?

19 A. You remind me of the relevant documents. They don't

20 shed light on what action was taken immediately after

21 this report.

22 Q. Could you do your best, looking at the page that I have

23 identified, and try and recollect what your response was

24 to these sorts of concerns? Some of them, you can see,

25 are local concerns, but some of them go a bit more





1 widely to do with CID's and Special Branch's ongoing

2 relationship.

3 A. I mean, I -- in the absence of documentary evidence, I

4 cannot recall what I did, but it is likely that I would

5 have spoken to Head of Special Branch to see what could

6 actually be done to deal with at least 8.1. But these

7 were already matters for Colin Port.

8 So if it was the case that the Inquiry team was not

9 able to handle security of their intelligence product,

10 clearly at some point, although I cannot recall the

11 mechanism, Colin Port must have been made aware of

12 either the contents of this report or the specifics or

13 the recommendations.

14 So he, I hope, would have been aware of at

15 least 8.1. That was something that was within his power

16 or ability to deal with.

17 Point 2 was something that I might have been able to

18 address in conversation with Colin Port, but I cannot

19 recall whether I did so or not. Part 3, this was

20 a particularly difficult area of which Colin Port was

21 well aware, that he was both seeking intelligence from

22 and seeking to establish whether or not there was any

23 basis for the possibility that people from whom he was

24 seeking to acquire intelligence might have had any

25 collusive role.





1 The last part was not something that I could hope to

2 do very much about, but I would have hoped that I would

3 have talked to Special Branch about these issues.

4 Q. It may help if we look at a specific document, where we

5 can see at least reference to a particular conversation

6 you would have had, and that's at RNI-533-122

7 (displayed). You can see there that's a loose minute

8 from Director A to the deputy director general and to

9 you and others. And the date is 23 March 2000, so

10 almost a year later, and the title is:

11 "The Port Inquiry: request for A Branch assistance."

12 The first paragraph says:

13 "Colin Port visited the Service today following a

14 conversation with DCI yesterday to explore the

15 possibility of A Branch assistance in his continued

16 inquiry. The targets are the key LVF members believed

17 to be involved in the murder of Rosemary Nelson."

18 Is this a particular conversation that you can

19 recollect?

20 A. Sorry, can I see the header of the document again? You

21 will note that this is a -- the document that was sent

22 to me.

23 Q. Indeed, but referring to a conversation which you had

24 had about the issue.

25 A. Oh, indeed, yes, I'm sorry. I take your point.





1 This was part of my ongoing wish to be of help to

2 Colin Port and, therefore, to -- I mean, there were some

3 issues around who should conduct technical operations in

4 support of the Inquiry and whether these could be done

5 safely and whether they could be done without detriment

6 to techniques and long-term operations already in

7 existence in the operation.

8 So, again, it was a question of balance between the

9 immediate needs of the police investigation and the need

10 to safeguard operations, operational methods, sources

11 and methods and particular operations that we judged to

12 be important against the possibility that the

13 ceasefire -- that the peace process faltered or failed.

14 Q. Now, it is to do with particular targets of Mr Port.

15 Can you remember him having a particular requirement for

16 your assistance? Was there a particular need that arose

17 in the investigation for technical assistance?

18 A. There was one -- I think there was one particular one,

19 but I was also concerned that the sorts of things he

20 wanted to do could potentially conflict with operations

21 that the Service was already planning or conducting, or

22 could use methods that might betray methods that we had

23 applied previously.

24 Q. Now, if we go overleaf to RNI-533-123 (displayed), we

25 can see paragraph 3, which actually has the same line as





1 you have seen on the previous page. But the sentence

2 is:

3 "We agreed that the next stage would be for S629 and

4 the Port Inquiry head of technical operations to speak

5 and see whether there was any assistance we could give.

6 In the interim, I would consult DCI and DDG, and S629

7 would speak to [blank], LA and [blank]."

8 It appears that this has led to internal meetings

9 which you appear to have had with the author of this

10 document, which is Director A. Do you remember meeting

11 with him to discuss this?

12 A. I have no precise recollection of a conversation. It

13 would not in all probability have been a meeting, but it

14 would have been likely to have been a telephone

15 conversation on a secure telephone.

16 Q. And what was your advice?

17 A. I am afraid I cannot recall the conversation.

18 Q. In your statement -- and this is on the second part at

19 paragraph 28, which we can see on page RNI-844-069

20 (displayed) -- again, you refer to the fact that there

21 were concerns about Colin Port's use of this technology

22 and the knock-on consequences for other operations

23 within Northern Ireland?

24 A. Indeed.

25 Q. And your wish to provide Mr Port with the best possible





1 advice and assistance in order to avoid such an outcome.

2 Then you refer more generally to further

3 conversations with other parts of the Security Service

4 and say that you don't know if the Security Service in

5 fact assisted Colin Port's team in the proposed

6 operation.

7 When did your involvement with this issue come to

8 an end?

9 A. Which issue precisely are you referring to?

10 Q. I think that's a question more for you, given that this

11 is your statement.

12 A. Well, there are a number of issues that are referred to

13 in my statement. Can you just remind me again of which

14 particular sentence you wish me to address?

15 Q. Any of those sentences I read out in the final section

16 of paragraph 28. First of all, the conversation with

17 Colin Port about this issue. I think we have already

18 discussed that. The knock-on of consequences, I think

19 we have already discussed that. Your wish to provide

20 advice: Likewise we have discussed it. But follow-up

21 conversations within the Security Service, at what stage

22 did you cease to be involved with this issue?

23 A. Probably at this point. I mean, if you read that

24 sentence, it was my wish to provide Colin Port with the

25 best possible advice and assistance in order to avoid





1 such an outcome.

2 In relation to technical operations, that advice and

3 assistance would come from my colleagues in London. So

4 I had, I hope, facilitated Colin Port by putting him in

5 touch with people particularly in A Branch who might be

6 able to assist him or might be able to provide advice or

7 might, indeed, provide technology or support or, indeed,

8 in some cases conduct some or other part of the

9 operation to ensure that it was done to a level of

10 security that was consistent with -- and safety that was

11 consistent with other operations in Northern Ireland.

12 So my wish was basically to ensure that short-term

13 gain did not lead also to long-term pain. But, as

14 I hope the sentence makes clear, it was my wish to

15 ensure that Colin Port was able to do whatever was

16 possible to advance his inquiry, and clearly it was

17 a legitimate wish to deploy technical devices against

18 those he thought to be responsible.

19 My concern -- and I repeat it -- was to ensure that

20 such things were done safely and securely because it was

21 in nobody's interests that they should be compromised.

22 And secondly, that in using such operations primarily to

23 adduce evidence, they did not damage other long-term

24 operations in Northern Ireland, which had the potential

25 to produce intelligence of long-term value to safety,





1 protection of life and to the protection of the peace

2 process.

3 Q. And the point you are making really then at the

4 conclusion of this statement is having given your

5 advice, you had no further dealings with the technical

6 operation?

7 A. That is precisely what I'm saying there. I'm saying at

8 the point at which I made this statement, I did not

9 know -- I do not know whether the Security Service

10 actually committed staff to assist Colin Port in the

11 proposed operation which was -- as you say, there was

12 one specific operation, as well as his wish to attack

13 two particular individuals.

14 Q. Now, another issue arises in relation to the Security

15 Service and Special Branch, which is to do with agent

16 identities. Can we look, please, at RNI-532-157

17 (displayed)?

18 Now, you are familiar with this note for file, I

19 think, and you refer to it in your statement at

20 paragraph 29 on page RNI-844-069 (displayed)?

21 A. I am.

22 Q. This undoubtedly was an extremely sensitive issue for

23 you because Colin Port had requested a series of

24 identities from RUC Special Branch in order to fulfil

25 his investigatory requirements.





1 Why was the Special Branch coming to speak to the

2 Security Service about this?

3 A. I guess that there were two -- sorry, can I just remind

4 myself of the author of this, which is --

5 Q. I am afraid it is redacted, so I can't assist you.

6 A. There is not even a ciphered -- which is unhelpful.

7 Q. If you feel it necessary, we can adjourn for a few

8 minutes to provide you the document, or are you happy

9 talking about it? Mr Eicke is kindly offering you

10 assistance.

11 MR EICKE: With your permission, Mr Chairman?

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. (Handed)

13 A. This was primarily a matter of concern to the agent

14 handling branch of the Security Service; T Branch as we

15 have identified earlier. There would have been concerns

16 in Special Branch, which would have been shared by

17 T Branch, that this approach might also put at risk

18 Security Service agents.

19 As I can't speak authoritatively about such cases,

20 but my recollection is that there were some cases that

21 were run jointly and all Security Service cases were run

22 with the knowledge of Special Branch. So there would

23 have been concerns not only about those run directly by

24 the RUC, but agents that might also have been run or run

25 separately by or with the Security Service.





1 The RUC would have also, I guess, hoped to have been

2 able to provide a common front, i.e. a common perspective

3 on the risks to agents of handing over such a list

4 without confidence of control of what, as you identify,

5 was such a delicate document.

6 Q. May I focus your attention on a couple of particular

7 points. The first is the regional head of

8 Special Branch's view that he knew from his own

9 sensitive sources that intelligence passed to Mr Port

10 had leaked out.

11 Can you assist us on what that is referring to and

12 whether or not you accepted that that was a true account

13 of what had happened?

14 A. I have no knowledge whether it was a true account or

15 not, but it is consistent with the earlier account that

16 you reported, that we discussed, S188's, I recall,

17 account.

18 Q. It is.

19 A. But it was a belief in RUC Special Branch in Southern

20 Region.

21 Q. The other point which we can see in paragraph 3 is it

22 appears that the regional head of Special Branch,

23 a chief superintendent, is encouraging the Security

24 Service to speak to his own Chief Constable about this

25 issue. Isn't it curious that he is coming to see you to





1 take that action and not going directly to his own

2 manager?

3 A. I think that he probably felt that the Security Service

4 might be able to give a more authoritative view of the

5 risks to agents.

6 Q. Was there a concern from South Region's perspective that

7 Sir Ronnie Flanagan had, as it were, let Mr Port have

8 too much access to their intelligence and that they

9 wanted to have greater control of that?

10 A. I had no direct conversations with Special Branch in

11 relation to the terms of reference for Colin Port, so I

12 don't think I can answer the question.

13 Q. It says at the bottom of that page that after the

14 meeting in which -- the regional head of Special Branch

15 has this meeting with the author of the report, after

16 the meeting, he spoke to the DCI, i.e. you, who was aware

17 of the background. And you give some advice on the

18 issue, you can see there in those final paragraphs. It

19 goes on in paragraph 6 overleaf to say that:

20 "The author briefed Director T, who was responsible

21 for the agent handling side of things, and said he had

22 also discussed the matter with both the DCI and the

23 director general of the Security Service, and the next

24 step was for the HSB to discuss with the Chief. After

25 that, top management were stood by to talk to the Chief





1 if needed."

2 It does seem that this issue has caused a great deal

3 of consideration at the very highest levels of both the

4 Security Service and the RUC. Can you recollect some of

5 the details of the conversations you may have had with

6 the director general about this issue?

7 A. I had no conversations with the director general on this

8 issue directly that I can recall. Director T would have

9 been taking the lead because of his concern for the

10 safety and the lives of the agents being run by his

11 branch.

12 Q. You appeared earlier in connection with the technical

13 side of things, which is Director A's responsibility,

14 and here in relation to Director T's responsibility, the

15 agent side of things. Are you, as it were, the person

16 in the middle providing the advice to all the sections

17 within the Security Service and also liaising with

18 Colin Port?

19 A. Can I perhaps go back to the role and responsibilities

20 that the DCI had in Northern Ireland? This was a period

21 of some -- I mean, the two years that I was in

22 Northern Ireland were the two years almost immediately

23 following the Good Friday Agreement. There were a very

24 great number of issues that intelligence could

25 illuminate both in relation to actions of individuals





1 that might cause death or destruction, or which might

2 derail the peace process, and there was a very strong

3 appetite for intelligence.

4 Equally, there was a strong wish by the Secretary of

5 State and others, and a proper wish, to move as rapidly

6 as possible down a curve which might be described as the

7 normalisation curve; that is, to start moving

8 conditions, arrangements and circumstances in

9 Northern Ireland towards those much closer to

10 arrangements and circumstances in the rest of the

11 United Kingdom.

12 So if I were to describe not my terms of reference,

13 not my precise responsibilities, not the roles of my

14 staff, but to say what were the issues that I, as DCI,

15 were concerned with, my concern was to provide

16 ministers, Secretary of State, the Prime Minister,

17 officials in London and Northern Ireland, with the best

18 possible judgments that we could make based on all

19 available sources of intelligence about what was

20 actually happening in the Province, which they could put

21 alongside information that they had from their

22 dialogues, their political contacts, their relationships

23 with bodies and individuals and groups in

24 Northern Ireland and with what was reported in the

25 media, to reach their judgment of the political steps





1 necessary to bring, or to maintain the momentum of that

2 peace process.

3 That was probably my first and most important

4 responsibility.

5 Secondly, I was in a position to influence but not

6 direct all the intelligence agencies that operated in

7 Northern Ireland: to ensure firstly that they produced

8 relevant and important and necessary intelligence to

9 meet the criteria that I have already discussed;

10 secondly, that they did so in a way which would not of

11 itself cause damage or disruption to the peace process.

12 So we had discussed how there might have been damage

13 to the peace process arising from compromise of

14 technical operations. Even more damage might be caused

15 were there to be other deaths and murders other than the

16 death of Rosemary Nelson and other high profile events.

17 So intelligence remained important to prevent such

18 attitudes and to help ministers in handling the security

19 situation.

20 I also had to plan for the sorts of intelligence

21 arrangements that might follow or might succeed the

22 arrangements which I inherited, which had been forged in

23 30 years of extreme violence, which had involved people

24 in acts of great encourage and heroism in seeking to

25 gain intelligence to protect lives here in





1 Northern Ireland.

2 So my job was also to start and develop a process

3 which would take us towards intelligence arrangements

4 and models as I understand they are today, which are

5 much more similar to those that are in place in the rest

6 of the United Kingdom.

7 In parallel with that role that I took upon myself,

8 but with the support of the Northern Ireland Office and

9 my director general, there were of course a large range

10 of other initiatives to bring normality, not least

11 changes to the RUC and the formation of the Police

12 Service of Northern Ireland.

13 So I would ask you to recognise that those were the

14 purposes of the role within the terms of reference and

15 the precise responsibilities that I have mentioned. To

16 discharge those responsibilities, I had to be scrupulous

17 in the handling of warranty and legal procedures. I had

18 to be scrupulous in ensuring that priorities and

19 requirements were kept updated and that these were

20 reflected in the activities of all the intelligence

21 agencies, of which there were several, which operated in

22 Northern Ireland.

23 I sought also to influence those whom I could not

24 direct, but who were responsible for police, covert

25 intelligence and military covert intelligence, to ensure





1 that what they did was proper, appropriate, continued to

2 be relevant in changing circumstances. That was the

3 burden of my role and I sought to discharge that role

4 faithfully, with probity, with integrity throughout my

5 time in Northern Ireland.

6 Q. Thank you for that answer. I should have given you

7 an assurance, if that is needed, that I was not seeking

8 in any way to challenge those latter things which you

9 mentioned, but merely to find out more about the murder

10 investigation.

11 Sir, we are approaching the time we normally stop.

12 I would appreciate a little bit of time just to consider

13 what further questions need to be asked.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Well, should we have a ten-minute break

15 now, or thereabouts, and that would give an opportunity

16 to the witness to consider the document that he wanted

17 to see in a grey version.

18 Before the witness with leaves, Mr (name redacted), would

19 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

20 switched off?

21 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

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

23 About ten minutes.

24 (4.50 pm)

25 (Short break)





1 (5.00 pm)

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

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

4 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

5 THE CHAIRMAN: The fire doors on either side of the screen

6 closed?

7 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

9 and securely fastened?

10 MR CURRANS: Yes, sir.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

12 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

13 of this chamber?

14 MR CURRANS: No, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

16 Mr (name redacted), can you confirm, please, that the two

17 witness cameras have been switched off and shrouded?

18 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: All other cameras have been switched off?

20 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

22 Bring the witness in, please.

23 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

24 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

25 switched back on.





1 Yes, Mr Skelton?

2 MR SKELTON: Now, in the last session you kindly agreed to

3 look at a document which you had not previously seen,

4 which is entitled "Property Warrant Revalidation", which

5 we can find at RNI-531-116 (displayed).

6 Now, are you happy that you are able to speak about

7 this document?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. What would you like to say about it in terms of your

10 conversations that you may have had with the Secretary

11 of State?

12 A. My reading of the document is fair simple and

13 straightforward. The particularly relevant piece of

14 information is redacted, as I rather suspected, and was

15 one reason why I particularly wished to see the

16 unredacted version.

17 The fact is that at the point of this revalidation,

18 there was no device yet installed. So this was

19 a reasonably straightforward revalidation with the

20 Secretary of State. What I would have said to her -- I

21 cannot speak to precisely the words that I would have

22 used. I would have said to her that the intelligence

23 case remains intact, Colin Duffy remains a legitimate

24 and proper target for a national security operation and

25 I would ask you to revalidate the warrant.





1 My supposition is that she did so. I think if she

2 had not done so, that would have been clearly recorded.

3 And, as I said previously, the actual document that

4 records her decision is the warrant instrument, which

5 you have not adduced in court, but that records her

6 final decision in relation to every warrant, property or

7 interception warrant, application or revalidation or,

8 indeed, termination that I put to the Secretary of

9 State.

10 Q. One question: can you remember what she said?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?

13 A. About this particular document?

14 Q. More generally.

15 A. I think probably I had more than my say at the end of

16 the last session.

17 I think I would only wish to add that I worked at

18 intervals during my career with members of the Royal

19 Ulster Constabulary. I have had the utmost admiration

20 for the work that they do and that I had great

21 confidence in the regional head of Special Branch in

22 South Region and in his probity and responsibility. And

23 I would not believe personally any allegations of

24 collusion that were made against him or fellow officers.

25 Q. Thank you.






2 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: You referred to the answer that you

3 gave at the end of the last session. In that answer, I

4 think you probably correctly anticipated the question I

5 would have asked, which, indeed, I did ask a witness

6 yesterday: to explain in the round what they saw as

7 their role. And that came across very clearly.

8 I was struck by the point that you made, that you

9 were in a position to influence but not direct all the

10 intelligence agencies that operated in Northern Ireland,

11 and I just wanted to get at the subtlety that was

12 involved in influencing but not directing.

13 A. If I may say so, you are probably familiar with some of

14 the ambiguities that do occur in governmental

15 arrangements, and the history of the DCI role is not one

16 that I researched in great detail, but it was an attempt

17 to bring a sense of direction and a sense of purpose and

18 a sense of focus to the -- and intelligence activities

19 of a number of different organisations. But I was not

20 vested with any right of direction.

21 That said, I believe that my reputation and

22 influence and role was sufficient to be able to guide

23 and encourage and shape the intelligence activities of

24 all the intelligence agencies that operated here. And

25 it is likely that you will hear witness from those





1 members of the Security Service who served in

2 Northern Ireland but were not my line responsibility,

3 that they would have certainly sought my advice on the

4 desirability or the risks of conducting some of their

5 activities, particularly the risks of compromise, the

6 risks to the peace process, the process of

7 normalisation.

8 So I had regular conversations with people who were

9 involved in running agent operations in Northern Ireland

10 on behalf of the Security Service, who were planning and

11 conducting the technical operations from the Security

12 Service in Northern Ireland on behalf of the RUC, and

13 both of those, I believe, turned to me for advice on

14 context and desirability of operation.

15 So far as the RUC was concerned, I was able to

16 interpret to them the realities of the political process

17 and help them understand, I believe, the need to change

18 and adapt and develop and reform, as conditions changed,

19 the need to be able to justify all their intelligence

20 activity.

21 I had some blunt instruments, and we have referred

22 to some of those: I could withhold payment to agents; I

23 could probably refuse to put forward an application for

24 a technical operation or a warrant, if I chose to do so.

25 These were things that I used rarely.





1 The instruments at my hand were basically my

2 knowledge, my access, my experience, my standing and my

3 ability, therefore, to talk to people at the highest

4 level, including the Chief Constable and GOC, the

5 Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary, as well

6 as those professionally responsible for intelligence.

7 So in the broadest possible way, I saw my remit as

8 to achieve the best possible results for the UK's

9 combined efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Right. Did you have ever the

11 experience of people disregarding your advice?

12 A. I think it would be surprising if I didn't. It would

13 have been, I think, very rare in respect of the Security

14 Service because I would have had recourse to their line

15 managers and we would have argued it out. So we would

16 have resolved that within the Security Service.

17 I cannot think of particular occasions where my

18 advice was disregarded. The most common case where

19 I gave direct and pertinent advice was in relation to

20 the desirability of deploying to undertake technical

21 operations at times of very high political sensitivity.

22 You will appreciate that there were occasions when

23 the opportunities to place such devices were very

24 limited, and therefore there would be a wish from the

25 operational side to deploy and install. But if those





1 opportunities coincide with very high profile periods,

2 [redacted

3 redacted

4 redacted] -- then my advice would be clearly that this

5 was not a wise time to deploy.

6 At times my advice might have been less -- and my

7 advice was always listened to on those occasions.

8 There were times when I would have perhaps been less

9 direct in my advice, by saying, "This is not the best

10 time, but if you believe this is the only opportunity

11 you should do so". Whether or not my advice was

12 disregarded, I think this sort of implies a rather

13 formal relationship of advice and response. The fact

14 was that where there were issues that needed exploring

15 with the RUC or with the military, it might take

16 a succession of conversations and the development of

17 those conversations to the point where I was satisfied

18 that the point I was trying to make and the outcome that

19 I was trying to achieve had finally been achieved.

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: You have referred to the RUC at that

21 time having primacy. I'm just wondering, in the light

22 of everything you have said, whether it might be more

23 fairly characterised as having primacy subject to a good

24 deal of influence from the Security Service and from

25 yourself in particular?





1 A. Well, there was -- I mean, the effort to -- the covert

2 effort in Northern Ireland was a collective effort. The

3 point about primacy was that ultimately decisions on the

4 ground were a matter for the RUC. They could, if they

5 wished to put the boot on to the other foot -- they

6 could if they wished not allow the Security Service

7 access to or to run a particular agent.

8 I'm not that aware that they did so, but primacy put

9 them in that position of ownership, if you like, of

10 intelligence on the territory of Northern Ireland.

11 But, as always with UK arrangements, there were

12 peculiarities, one of which was that the police force

13 here in Northern Ireland was not permitted under the

14 legislation to apply for warrants on grounds of national

15 security; not for technical operations. Only the

16 Security Service could apply for and have delivered to

17 it such warrants. This was in particular to avoid

18 a multiplicity of organisations that might operate

19 independently of each other with potentially disastrous

20 consequences.

21 So there were individual pieces of legislation,

22 individual requirements placed on organisations,

23 individual accountabilities that required ingenuity,

24 influence and coordination to achieve the best possible

25 outcome.





1 That was the role that I sought to fulfil.


3 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for coming to give

4 evidence before us. We appreciate you being questioned

5 at length about matters that happened really years ago,

6 but thank you very much for coming.

7 A. Thank you, sir.

8 THE CHAIRMAN: Before the witness leaves, Mr (name redacted), would

9 you please confirm that all the cameras have been

10 switched off?

11 MR (NAME REDACTED): Yes, sir, they have.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

13 We shall adjourn until 10.15 am tomorrow morning.

14 (5.17 pm)

15 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)














1 I N D E X

S284 (affirmed) .................................. 2
Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 2
S436 (sworn) ..................................... 77
Questions by MR SKELTON ...................... 77
Questions by THE CHAIRMAN .................... 126
Questions by MR SKELTON (continued) .......... 132
Questions by DAME VALERIE STRACHAN ........... 186