National Security Risk
By TruePublica Editor. At what point and after how many warnings do the general public take the view that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, is regarded as a serious national security risk to the United Kingdom.
It’s a serious question and a valid one to ask, albeit it sounds conspiratorial, doesn’t it? However, if you add Johnson’s characteristics and long history of philandering, betrayal, an employment history littered with scandals and sackings, abuse of public office, complete lack of regard for parliamentary rules and now various police investigations into his (alleged law-breaking) behaviour along with his lack of judgement, then that reality becomes much clearer. Even more so, when considering that he has been classed as a national security risk for some time.
But don’t take my word for it.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May blocked Johnson from accessing certain state secrets as foreign secretary because Downing Street and the security services who advised her, believed he was a national security risk (LINK).
In 2019, nearly a year after Johnson was elected, he was accused of breaching the ‘Security of Government Business’ policy (which explicitly bans the use of private emails and personal communication devices by ministers for official businesses) on “an industrial scale” – and that he left himself “vulnerable to attacks from threat actors.” On just one device up to 36,000 government documents relating to the pandemic were revealed after an investigation. Legal experts said – “We do not understand what good reason there can be for breaching this policy with the additional jeopardy to government and national security”. (LINK)
In the same investigation some months later, it emerged that the secret information belonging to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was exposed in multiple breaches after files were also transferred from secure networks to personal email accounts. (LINK)
More recently, national newspapers were reporting that MI5 should investigate the ‘security risk’ Boris Johnson posed after the Partygate leaks. Here it is alleged that Johnson had left top-secret documents lying around when visitors came to his flat. (LINK)
And of course, there’s the complete lack of judgement by Johnson (given that Europe is on the brink of war with Russia) where he is accused of deliberately failing to protect UK’s national security. The Chair of the cross-party National Security Committee tells Johnson is no uncertain terms that there are signs ‘security is no longer a priority for the government.’
The Chair of the committee, Dame Margaret Beckett said – “We are deeply troubled by the persistent signs that our nation’s security is no longer a priority for the government” and went further complains to the prime minister that there has been “a significant reduction in your personal engagement” compared with his predecessors. Here, Johnson is accused of not bothering to turn up to the usual bi-weekly national security meetings. The powerful committee, composed of senior ministers plus military and intelligence officials, met weekly whenever parliament was sitting to agree on a common response to the key security issues of the day.
Here Johnson was also accused of being complacent. This was confirmed by “a systemic failure by the government to prepare properly for a scenario that it had, in fact, foreseen” with regard to Afghanistan. Another accusation came from the same committee that the foreign office was non longer fit for purpose when it comes to a crisis response (like Ukraine).
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Last October we learned that Conservative party coffers have been swelled by £2 million from donors with Russian links since Boris Johnson became PM – and a quarter of his ministers attending cabinet have benefited from their cash.
Ministers whose offices or constituencies benefited include Deputy PM Dominic Raab, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and five other MPs who attend Cabinet. Donations have soared to £74m since Mr Johnson took office in 2019. In the first six months of 2020 donations hit £57,700 a day – £2,400 an hour.
There are two questions that need to be asked about Boris Johnson and his government when it comes to Russia.
The first is what does Johnson and the party more widely think these Russian donors want when they throw millions in donations at them? The second is, what does Johnson and the Conservative party think Vladimir Putin is going to do now that he knows the UK is no friend all of a sudden – even though millions has been lavished upon them.
I suppose a third question could arise – does anyone think that someone connected to the Conservative party could, given the money being thrown around, become an operative for the enemy? And this is not such a stupid question either.
A scandal erupted when the Portland Spy Ring that operated in England from the late 1950s was discovered. These were British and American citizens linked to the military. (LINK)
The Conservative party became embroiled a few years later in the Profumo Affair. Christine Keeler was an English model and showgirl. At the height of the Cold War, she became sexually involved with a married Tory Cabinet minister, John Profumo, as well as with a Soviet naval attaché, Yevgeny Ivanov. A shooting incident involving a third lover caused the press to investigate her, revealing that her affairs could be threatening national security. In the House of Commons, Profumo denied any improper conduct but later admitted that he had lied. (LINK)
It was only seven months ago that Britain’s top domestic spymaster at MI5 cautioned citizens to treat the threat of spying from Russia seriously. Here, the MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum said “foreign spies killed, stole technology, sought to corrupt public figures, sow discord and attack infrastructure with potentially devastating cyberattacks.”
MI5’s biggest job is still tackling terrorism – and McCallum warned there was an important need to refocus attention on the threats from state actors such as Russia. “Some hostile actors are prepared to come to the UK to kill,” McCallum said in a speech at Thames House, MI5’s London headquarters in July last year. British spies say Russia has sought to steal commercially sensitive data and intellectual property as well as to interfere in domestic politics and sow misinformation. All manner of subjects are raised in this area including the subversion of democracy as the EU referendum was implicated amongst other issues that have weakened the country. (LINK)
Famously, Boris Johnson attempted, first of all, to bury and then deliberately delay the Russia Report. The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) investigated allegations of Russian interference in British politics, including alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. The committee’s report was finally published in July 2020, and according to it “there is substantial evidence that Russian interference in British politics was commonplace.” (LINK)
From all this evidence, we can conclude that Boris Johnson himself – a British Prime Minister is a national security risk. The domestic spying agencies has said so, the National Security Committee has said so and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has said so. A former Prime Minister and therefore our own government has said so. It’s all been reported in the national newspapers.
Why is Boris Johnson anywhere near No10 Downing Street under these circumstances? This question is especially salient now that Russia is not just a ‘hostile state,’ – not just a national security threat but now an actual enemy of the state.
The reality with threatened Russian aggression over Ukraine is that Putin is a danger to the world. He cares little for democracy, for international laws, treaties or the like. Putin has little to lose – and there’s nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose.