MI5 chief defends use of intelligence extracted through torture

Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
In an unprecedented public speech, the director of MI5, Britain’s national counterintelligence agency, said the intelligence extracted by torturing suspects after 9/11 had stopped “many attacks” on Western and other targets. Last January, Jonathan Evans, who was named director of MI5 in April 2007, gave the first-ever media interview by an MI5 director in history. Last Thursday, he made history once again by giving the first-ever public speech by an MI5 chief. Speaking at the University of Bristol, England, Evans said MI5 was right to cooperate after 9/11 with US and other intelligence agencies, even if those agencies were known to routinely extract information from detainees through torture. In doing so, he revealed that MI5’s own knowledge of al-Qaeda was “inadequate” at the time of 9/11, and that the agency “had to get overseas help at the time”. Evans insisted he was “not defending the abuses which had come to light in the US”, but argued that these abuses “had to been seen in the context of the times”. Evans’ comments come only weeks after London’s Metropolitan Police began investigating MI5 for its alleged role in the torture of Binyam Mohamed. An Ethiopian resident of Britain, Mohamed said he was severely tortured with MI5’s collaboration after he was renditioned to Morocco.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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