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‘There are still weaknesses in the direction, collection and collation of intelligence’: Piecing together the Intelligence Co-ordinator’s March 1971 report on Intelligence in Northern Ireland and its role in the introduction of internment.

CRAIG, Tony (2016) ‘There are still weaknesses in the direction, collection and collation of intelligence’: Piecing together the Intelligence Co-ordinator’s March 1971 report on Intelligence in Northern Ireland and its role in the introduction of internment. In: Political Studies Association of Ireland - Conference 2016, 7-9 October 2016, Europa Hotel, Belfast. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

In March 1971 Britain’s Intelligence Co-ordinator, Sir Dick White, was despatched for the third time to Northern Ireland in order to study and make recommendations for the improvement of security intelligence there. Though still classified, significant components of White’s report can be pieced together from both direct and indirect quotations made in several contemporary documents from the archives of the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office. These excerpts indicate that White was both conscious of the poor state of RUC Special Branch records and that he supported the introduction of internment ‘after a lull in its expectation’ for the purposes of improved intelligence gathering. Furthermore, aspects of White’s report effectively stymied all further attempts to improve RUC SB intelligence in the months prior to internment so as not to further destabilise the RUC. This paper argues that Britain’s intelligence community were aware of the inadequacies of RUC SB prior to the introduction of internment and that the intelligence dividend offered by internment was a more crucial part of the argument that led to its introduction than has previously been understood. Furthermore this paper indicates that whilst it was the Intelligence Co-ordinator in London who recommended the military training in the five techniques to RUC interrogators in March 1971, it was the MI5 Director of Intelligence in Lisburn who implemented White’s plan that bore the brunt of internal criticism once the use of the enhanced interrogation methods became more widely known.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: INCL
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Journalism, Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Tony CRAIG
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2016 11:54
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 15:39
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/2519

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