Monday, 14 May 2012

U.K faces problem of security service members with links to terrorism

Abdul Rahman, a 33-year old Scotland Yard constable of Bangladeshi descent, had his security clearance revoked in 2006 — he chose to resign rather than be dismissed — following an MI5 investigation which concluded that, in 2001, he spent time in a terrorist training camp in Pakistan; he is one of three members of the U.K. security forces dismissed because of links to terrorism; this case made the headline because he is suing the service for compensation, and the secret legal proceedings are about to begin


U.K. authorities embroiled in wrongful termination suit // Source: wikimedia.org
One of the intractable security problems the U.S. and other coalition forces face in Afghanistan is the infiltration of the ranks of Afghan police and military by Taliban sympathizers. Scores of coalition soldiers, and Afghan government police and military, were killed by Taliban members in Afghani police or military uniforms, uniforms which allowed them to access facilities and areas which otherwise would be closed to them.
Do the U.K. security forces face a similar problem, even if on a smaller scale? The case of Abdul Rahman, 33, may be an indication.


Rahman joined Scotland Yard in 2003, but in 2006 an internal investigation by MI5 concluded that he might have visited a terrorist training camp in Pakistan when he travelled there in 2001. When confronted with the MI5 report, Rahman chose to resign rather than be dismissed from the force, and he  is now suing Scotland Yard for compensation.


Scotland Yard said in legal documents that it acted “for the purpose of safeguarding national and public security.” The Telegraph quotes a source familiar with the case to say that there were either one or two other officers who had also lost their jobs because of MI5’s suspicion that they might have trained as terrorists.
“There was concern that these people had come into the force under false pretences,” the senior Metropolitan Police source told the Telegraph. “There were two or three cases at the same time that were of a similar nature, where there were concerns about potential terrorist links.”


Rahman drew the attention of MI5 following the comprehensive security review of the U.K. security situation, a review launched in the wake of the 7 July 2005 terrorist attack, and the subsequent failed 21 July bombings.
MI5 recommended that Rahman security clearance (or CTC, for counter-terrorist check) be suspended, and Scotland Yard accepted, suspending Rahman’s CTC on 22 June 2006.  He was interviewed three times, and in November 2006 he was told that his CTC vetting clearance had been revoked.


Rahman’s lawyer, Jasmine van Loggerenberg, of Russell Jones and Walker, said: “My client absolutely denies the allegations against him and this forms the basis of his claims against the police. It’s important to stress that this is a case being brought by Mr. Rahman, not by the Metropolitan Police. There are no criminal proceedings against him. Mr. Rahman has never been arrested, questioned or charged in a criminal context in relation to these proceedings.”


The Telegraph reports that last month, after a 5-year legal battle, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that his case could be held in secret, although Rahman had wanted a public hearing. Mr. Justice Mitting, a High Court judge who also specializes in terror cases in his role aschairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, ruled that Rahman and his legal team would be banned from parts of the hearing that concerned issues of national security.


Scotland Yard applied to have Rahman’s case heard in secret because the service wants to protect intelligence sources, sources which might be compromised if the sensitive evidence emerges in open court.


The legal proceedings will be held in such secrecy, in fact, that a security-cleared “special advocate,” instead of his own lawyer, will be appointed on Rahman’s behalf.

Source: Homeland Security News Wire.

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