» Monday, June 12, 2006

Sir Richard Mottram-intelligence

Asked if Sir Richard Mottram had been told about the raid in Forest Gate, the PMOS said that he was not going to get into detail on this subject for obvious reasons. The PMOS said that if the journalist was referring to yesterday’s Observer article, it was inaccurate.

Asked why was the article inaccurate, the PMOS said again that the story was inaccurate, and what was important at this time was that we recognised that the security agencies as a whole took a certain view on intelligence, and as the Prime Minister said last week, he fully supported them in what they did and believed that they were right to act on that intelligence. That remained the case.

Asked what the mechanism was whereby Sir Richard Mottram would learn the lessons of what went right and what went wrong, the PMOS said that he was not going to get ahead or comment of operational matters. People could take it that there was a whole system whereby matters such as these were assessed. The important point, however, was that if it was viewed by all concerned to be credible intelligence, then it was the duty of the appropriate authorities to act on that, and the Prime Minister fully supported all concerned in doing so.

Asked if the Prime Minister shared Ken Livingstone’s view that there was a lot of confidence in Sir Ian Blair and the Metropolitan Police, but far less confidence in MI5’s relations with the Muslim community, the PMOS said again that the Prime Minister fully supported all those who were involved in mounting this operation, and the PMOS pointed journalists to the recent comments of Andy Hayman.

Put that the Prime Minister had chosen to publicly give the police and security services his backing, and was that based on anything in particular, and why did he do that then, the PMOS said that again, he was not going to comment on the detail of the particular investigation. The Prime Minister was fully aware of the kind of judgements that had to be made on this kind of operation. The Prime Minister was also fully aware of the nature of the threat that we continued to face, and therefore, in terms of the balance and the balanced judgement that had to be made, the Prime Minister believed that it was absolutely right to fully support those who had a very difficult task of making those balanced judgements on all sides.

Asked if Sir Ian Blair had quoted the Prime Minister as supporting him when he did not want the IPPC to "rush in" after the de Menezes shooting, and was that correct, the PMOS replied that again, there was an IPPC investigation going on, so it would be wrong for the PMOS to comment. The Prime Minister continued to give his full support to Sir Ian Blair.

Asked if the Prime Minister regretted in any way the damage that seemed to have been done relations in the Muslim community, the PMOS said that the question took a one-sided view of the opinions expressed from within the Muslim community. There had been those who had expressed full understanding of why the police needed to operate in these kinds of circumstances, and therefore, we should not take a one-sided caricatured view of opinions within the Muslim community. The PMOS said that of course, we all recognised the need to explain why the police had to act in these circumstances, but we believed that that understanding was there within the Muslim community, but of course there were critics. Those critics had every right to express their views.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Search for related news

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