White House warns UK ruling could 'complicate' intelligence-sharing

The White House said it was "deeply disappointed" at a UK Appeal Court ruling that revealed intelligence relating to torture allegations in the case of a former Guantanamo detainee.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband yesterday lost a bid to block public disclosure of information that revealed the "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of Binyam Mohamed.



The White House said the ruling would make intelligence sharing with Britain more difficult in the future.



Binyam Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian granted refugee status in Britain in 1994, claimed he was tortured while being held on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.



Now intelligence information relating to the allegations was released after three of the UK's highest-ranking judges dismissed Mr Miliband's appeal.



He had hoped to overturn an earlier court ruling that said summaries of information received by the British security services from United States intelligence should be disclosed.



The Court of Appeal decision was hailed by international media as a "resounding victory for freedom of speech".



But White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said the US was "deeply disappointed" with the judgment.



He said: "We shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations. As we warned, the court's judgment will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK, and it will have to factor into our decision-making going forward."



In Washington, a statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, said the ruling was "not helpful".



It said: "The protection of confidential information is essential to strong, effective security and intelligence cooperation among allies.



"The decision by a United Kingdom court to release classified information provided by the US is not helpful, and we deeply regret it."











The ruling by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and the President of the Queen's Bench Division Sir Anthony May related to publication of seven paragraphs which had to be redacted from High Court judgments already handed down.

One of the key paragraphs - released after yesterday's decision was announced - said that the reported treatment by the "United States authorities" of Mr Mohamed "could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading".



Mr Miliband told MPs the ruling was leading to a "great deal of concern" in the US.



In a statement to the Commons, he said he had fought to prevent the release of the information to defend the "fundamental" principle that intelligence shared with the UK would be protected.



This "control principle" was essential to the relationship between the UK and the US.



Mr Miliband said he had spoken with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton about the case, which was being "followed carefully at the highest levels in the US system with a great deal of concern".



The treatment of Mr Mohamed went against British principles but was not carried out by the UK, he said.



The judgment was the latest ruling in long-running proceedings arising out of the case of British resident Mr Mohamed.



Mr Mohamed was detained in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism and then "rendered" to Morocco and Afghanistan. He was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2004.



Now back in the UK, he is fighting to prove that British authorities helped to facilitate his detention and knew about his ill-treatment in Pakistan.



Lawyers for Mr Mohamed and the British and international media had argued that disclosure of the material was in the public interest.



They accused the Government of seeking to suppress "embarrassing and shaming" evidence of Britain's involvement in torture.



They said sensitive admissions by the CIA to the British security service over the ill-treatment of Mr Mohamed raised the prospect of both UK and US governments being exposed to "serious criminal liability for an international war crime".



Lawyers acting for the Foreign Secretary had accused the judges of "charging in" to a diplomatically sensitive area - jeopardising UK intelligence-sharing with the US.



In the lengthy ruling, the Lord Chief Justice said: "Nothing in this judgment should be seen as devaluing the confidentiality principle, and the understanding on which intelligence information is shared between this country and the USA."



He said the redacted paragraphs would not reveal information which would be of interest to a terrorist or criminal or provide "any potential material of value to a terrorist or a criminal".



Lord Judge said there was no secret about the treatment to which Mr Mohamed was subjected while in the control of the US authorities.



"We are no longer dealing with the allegations of torture and ill-treatment; they have been established in the judgment of the court, publicly revealed by the judicial processes within the USA itself," he said.



"If they contained genuinely secret material, the disclosure of which would of itself damage the national interest, my conclusion might be different."



He said Mr Mohamed was "taking civil proceedings for damages against the UK Government, in effect for their tortious involvement in the wrongdoing of the USA authorities".



After the ruling, Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said a public inquiry is now "inescapable".



Amnesty International backed the decision and joined calls for a new probe.



"The fact that Binyam Mohamed was tortured triggers the UK's human rights obligation, under domestic and international law, to investigate allegations of UK complicity in his abuse," said Amnesty's UK director Kate Allen.



Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said of the ruling: "It upholds the principles of intelligence-sharing between the US and UK and the need for justice and accountability in our democratic society.



"There is an urgent need to draw a line under this episode and restore British moral authority in the matter of allegations of complicity in torture."



Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey said: "This is an embarrassing defeat for David Miliband and a victory for open government."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue