Behind the careful legal language of the Detainee Inquiry report, a picture emerges of inadequate supervision and guidance, generally decent intentions and conduct, and the reluctance for a long time of the intelligence agencies and government to face up to the implications of Britain’s closest ally mistreating and torturing people. The agencies were initially slow to adjust to the enormous changes after 9/11. As Kenneth Clarke told MPs, there is no evidence of UK officers being directly responsible in the mistreatment of detainees, though there are serious questions about ‘inappropriate involvement’ in some rendition cases. I was a member of the inquiry until the end of 2011 along with Sir Peter Gibson and Dame Janet Paraskeva. I resigned when offered my current post of Director of the Institute for Government, not least because at the same time it became clear that the inquiry would have to be wound up—as it was a few weeks later- because of  likely fresh police investigations. The inquiry team was asked to highlight themes and questions based on a thorough analysis of over 20,000 documents. Today’s report demolishes claims by civil liberties’ groups that the inquiry was a whitewash.  Indeed, for some in the intelligence […]

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