Raab 'authorised MI6 actions with "risk of torture" then lied to MPs'
Dominic Raab authorised MI6 to carry out actions with a ‘real risk of torture as Foreign Secretary then lied to MPs about it’, report reveals
- Dominic Raab sanctioned spy ops with risk of cruel treatment, committee finds
Dominic Raab authorised MI6 to carry out action which posed a ‘real risk of torture’ then lied to MPs saying it was ‘abhorrent’, a report revealed yesterday.
As foreign secretary, he sanctioned a series of spy operations that had a risk of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, the intelligence and security committee (ISC) found.
During his time at the Foreign Office between July 2019 and September 2021, Mr Raab authorised action that carried a real risk of torture on one occasion and signed off on three other requests that posed a risk of ‘cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment’ by a ‘foreign partner’.
He also agreed to 22 other MI6 requests that ‘carried a real risk of other unacceptable treatment (for example, unacceptable standards of arrest and detention)’.
But when quizzed about whether he had ever signed off on any such action, Mr Raab misled the Parliamentary committee which scrutinises spies’ work, telling them: ‘No, (I) don’t do it.’
Dominic Raab (pictured) authorised MI6 to carry out action which posed a ‘real risk of torture’ then lied to MPs saying it was ‘abhorrent’, a report revealed yesterday
As foreign secretary, Raab sanctioned a series of spy operations that had a risk of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, the intelligence and security committee (ISC) found (MI6 Building pictured)
In an extraordinary exchange, Mr Raab compared himself to a curry when questioned by the committee about his appetite to risk when it comes to approving MI6 submissions involving a danger of torture.
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Mr Rabb told the committee: ‘I’m a spicy madras. So I want to be really careful, I want them to do their job, I want to be forward-leaning, I want to be really gripping the opportunities, but I don’t want to take them into vindaloo or even phaal territory which means that I risk repercussions the day after… unless we’re doing things on a sustainable basis, we trip up.’
Committee member Dame Diana Johnson asked: ‘Have you authorised action where there is a real risk of torture or [cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment]?’
Mr Raab answered: ‘No, [I] don’t do it.’ Dame Johnson pressed him: ‘You’ve never done it in two years?’
Mr Raab said: ‘Not without assurances that take the risk down… there are some moral red lines. I don’t trust torture from an efficacy point of view as well as finding it abhorrent from a moral point of view. I also worry about the reputational integrity of our agencies.’
It was only when the committee asked for written submissions after his evidence in 2021 that his authorisation of missions emerged.
In an extraordinary exchange, Mr Raab (pictured) compared himself to a curry when questioned by the committee about his appetite to risk when it comes to approving MI6 submissions involving a danger of torture
The report said: ‘This is a matter of very serious concern. While the then foreign secretary was entitled to authorise the activity in question, and we have no reason to believe that he sought actively to mislead the committee, FCDO and SIS officials – who accompanied him at the evidence session – did not clarify his evidence when given an opportunity.
‘The Committee is still concerned the foreign secretary is given significant discretion to authorise activity that may carry a real risk, although… there would appear to be sufficient checks and balances in the system. Appropriate due diligence is carried out to ensure information is not obtained via prohibited methods. Although we note that this cannot be guaranteed.’
The report gave no details about the nature of the cases involved which MI6 feared could pose a risk of torture by a foreign partner abroad.
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