» Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stephen Farrell

Asked if the Prime Minister regretted the decision to free Stephen Farrell, the PMS said he could not respond fully due to operational reasons but that there was a generic process where COBR met and made a recommendation to relevant departments, in this case the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence. The Prime Minister was consulted but the key decision making was from COBR to the appropriate Secretaries of State. These were very carefully planned situations undertaken with consideration, which carried risks.

Put that the operation was too swiftly agreed to and could have been resolved without military action, the PMS said that the operation was carefully planned and that decisions were not taken lightly. The information from COBR would have been at a level where people felt they could take the decision and people who took the action knew the risks they were taking.

Asked if the Prime Minister gave the final word to approve the mission, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was consulted but that the final decision was taken by the two cabinet Ministers.

Put that Special Forces involvement meant that the Prime Minister had to give the operation the go ahead, the PMS said that he was not aware of that rule.

Asked if the Foreign Secretary was away while this decision was taken, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had been away but was in contact.

Asked if anyone within Number 10 had expressed regret, the PMS said that the regret was that there had been loss of life.

Asked if there had been any discussions as to whether the operation should have gone ahead as the journalist had been warned of the danger, the PMS said all relevant information was taken into account when COBR met and the decision was made. The exercise was about taking the action that had the best chance at protecting life.

Asked if there was reason to believe that there was an imminent threat to Farrell s life, the PMS said that the nature of the threat was considered.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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