UK Politics

CIA interrogations report: David Cameron says UK claims 'dealt with'

David Cameron in Turkey Image copyright AFP/Getty

Questions about the interrogation of terror suspects have been "dealt with from the British perspective", Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Mr Cameron said British agents had been given new guidance on how to behave.

He was speaking after the publication of a Senate report on the "brutal" CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects.

It said the CIA had justified its techniques with "inaccurate claims of their effectiveness", including citing foiled terror plots against the UK.

The CIA has defended its actions in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US, saying they saved lives.

London plot

But the UN and human rights groups have called for the prosecution of people implicated in the report, which looked at techniques including waterboarding and sleep deprivation.

The report, a 480-page executive summary of the more than 6,000-page original, said the CIA had misled politicians and the public, wrongly claiming "enhanced interrogation" had produced "critical, otherwise unavailable intelligence".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Dhiren Barot was jailed for life in 2006 for plotting bomb attacks

One of the eight most frequently cited examples was a thwarted al-Qaeda plot to hijack planes and attack Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf, the report said.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the 9/11 attacks, had decided the two locations would be "powerful economic symbols", it said.

But the report said the plot had "not progressed beyond the initial planning stages" when it had been "fully disrupted", saying the the CIA's claims that its techniques had thwarted it were "inaccurate".

Another example was the capture of Dhiren Barot, who was jailed for life at Woolwich Crown Court in 2006, for plotting bomb attacks in the UK and the United States.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A plot to target Canary Wharf featured in the Senate report

Over the years, the report said, the CIA had used the thwarting of Barot's "urban targets plot" as evidence of the effectiveness of its techniques.

Again, the report said this was "inaccurate" because his capture "resulted from the investigative activities of UK government authorities".

The report also highlighted what it said were "inaccurate" claims of the CIA techniques' effectiveness in relation to shoe-bomb plotter Saajid Badat, who was sentenced to 13 years in jail in 2005 for planning to blow up a passenger plane.

Badat had been arrested after "UK domestic investigative efforts, reporting from foreign intelligence services, international law enforcement efforts, and US military", the report said.

UK guidance

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Cameron's spokesman said he was not aware of any request from the UK for redactions to the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

Mr Cameron had been asked about the report during a visit to Turkey.

He said some activities after the 9/11 attacks had been "wrong" and pointed to a UK inquiry, by retired judge Sir Peter Gibson.

Image caption A small number of protesters gathered on Parliament Square in London after the CIA report was published

Last December Sir Peter said Britain had been inappropriately involved in the rendition and ill-treatment of terror suspects.

He found no evidence officers had been directly involved in the torture or rendition of suspects but raised 27 questions the Intelligence and Security Committee was considering.

Mr Cameron said: "I'm satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.

"And I, as prime minister, have issued guidance to all of our agents and others working around the world about how they have to handle these issues in future.

"So I'm confident that this issue has been dealt with from the British perspective, I can reassure the public about that.

"But overall, we should be clear, torture is wrong."

'Lives saved'

The former reviewer of terror laws Lord Carlile has said he does not believe there should be a fresh inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture in the UK after the US Senate report on the CIA.

He told BBC News: "We don't want an industry of inquiries when there is an absence of evidence of any serious wrongdoing by the security services here."

Lord Carlile said he had been speaking to "well-informed sources" and believed there was "nothing like the American case to be made here".

But speaking on BBC Breakfast, Prof Paul Rogers, a lecturer in international security at the University of Bradford, said the extent of Britain's involvement was not known.

He said: "This was an American endeavour, but we still know very little about what Britain did, and I have to say I think that's very unlikely to come out, because we have a very much more closed system in this respect than the United States."

'Publish material'

Human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC told BBC Radio 4's The World at One Mr Cameron had "made a very fine attack on torture".

But he added: "He should ask for the material relating to Britain - which, at the request of his government, was withheld under the protocol that allies don't spill each other's secrets - he should obtain it and publish it so we will know whether there is material to show that intelligence services from Britain have collaborated."

US President Barack Obama banned harsh interrogation techniques after taking office in 2009.

"I hope that [the] report can help us leave these techniques where they belong - in the past," he said.

The CIA has argued that the interrogations had helped save lives.

"The intelligence gained from the programme was critical to our understanding of al-Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day," director John Brennan said.

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