Eliza Manningham-Buller

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Eliza Manningham-Buller
© Crown Copyright 2007

Eliza Manningham-Buller was Director General of the Security Service from 2002 to 2007.[1]

Contents

Background

Manningham-Buller's father was Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, later Viscount Dilhorne, who served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor under Harold Macmillan.[2] Her mother was Lady Mary Lilian Lindsay, fourth daughter of the 27th Earl of Crawford[3], who herself trained carrier-pigeons for use by the resistance in Europe during the Second World War.[4]

Manningham-Buller was educated at Benenden School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she read English[5] and reportedly rebuffed an initial attempt at recruitment by MI5.[6]

She subsequently spent three years as an English teacher at the private Queen's Gate School in South Kensington, London.[7]

MI5 career

Manningham-Buller was recruited into MI5 at cocktail party in Chelsea in 1974, a time when women were still marginalised in the service and confined to transcribing telephone intercepts.[8]

Soviet section

In the early 1980s, Manningham-Buller worked in counter-espionage, monitoring the Soviet spy network in Britain.[9]

She was a key player in running the Soviet double-agent Oleg Gordievsky:

During the early 1980s, only five people knew that Oleg Gordievsky, the deputy head of the KGB at the Soviet embassy in London, was actually a double agent. One of this exclusive group was MI5's senior officer dealing with Soviet affairs, Eliza Manningham-Buller.
As Gordievsky recently acknowledged, Manningham-Buller's ability to keep a secret saved his life.
Despite the fact that two of her assistants shared an office with Michael Bettany, a traitor working for the KGB, Gordievsky's crucial role was never mentioned. [10]

Middle East section

In 1988, she became head of MI5's Middle East section, in which role she was involved in the Lockerbie investigation.[11]

US liaison

Manningham-Buller was next posted to Washington DC as liaison officer, exchanging intelligence with the FBI and the CIA. While there she met her husband, university lecturer David Mallock.[12] According to the Independent Mallock was "a lecturer in moral philosophy and an Irish Catholic who once held strong left-wing views. He did not find out until they married what her job was."[13]

IRA in Britain

Between 1992 and 1993 Manningham-Buller headed T2 Section which had taken over responsibility for countering IRA operations in Great Britain from the Metropolitan Police Special Branch.[14]

Operations Director

Manningham-Buller became Operations Director in 1994.[15] In this post, she had responsibility for mail interception, telephone tapping and covert searches.[16]

When Stella Rimington announced her retirement as head of MI5 in 1995, Manningham Buller formed an alliance with Stephen Lander. The pair blocked the succession of Rimington's deputy Julian Hansen by threatening to resign. The Cabinet Office was told only that Hansen had withdrawn his application. [17]

Deputy Director-General

A year after Lander became director-general, Manningham-Buller succeeded Hansen as his deputy. [18]

In the 1999 edition of Defending The Realm, Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding suggested she was not well-liked within MI5:

Nicknamed 'Bullying Manner', the fifty-one-year-old deputy director-general is regarded as a formidable administrator who does not suffer fools gladly. She is unpopular with staff, and lacks Rimington's foresight and insight.[19]

However, a later edition cited supporters who "say she is determined, unpretentious and hates the paper-shuffling management culture of MI5."[20]

World Trade Center Attacks

Manningham-Buller flew to Washington to liaise with US authorities the day after the World Trade Center attacks. She also participated in a subsequent security review which led to a ring of concrete around Parliament.[21]

Iraq War Buildup

Documents declassified for the Iraq Inquiry include a 22 March 2002 memo in which Manningham-Buller told John Gieve of the Home Office that "There is no credible intelligence that demonstrates that Iraq was implicated in planning the 11 September attacks," and that Iraqi capability to launch terrorist attacks in the UK was limited.[22]

Manningham-Buller reportedly had doubts about threat from Iraq at the time of the Government's September 2002 dossier on the Iraqi weapons programme.[23]

Director General

Prior to becoming Director General, Manningham-Buller underwent a three hour psychological examination during which she reportedly lost her temper with the examiner.[24]

According to Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Manningham-Buller gave a background briefing to a prominent Sunday newspaper, soon after her appointment.[25]

It was reported in January 2003 that Manningham-Buller had told ministers "that she cannot be sure that she knows the identities of more than 50 per cent of the people in the UK who might carry out a terrorist attack" linked to Al-Qaeda.[26]

Wood Green raid

On 5 January 2003, MI5 officers and police raided a flat in Wood Green, North London. They arrested six North African men who were alleged to have been developing the lethal substance ricin.[27]

The Financial Times cited the operation as evidence that " MI5's new chief is making a mark in the war against terror."[28]

However, within two days of the raid Martin Pearce of the Biological Weapon Identification Group at Porton Down, had established that traces of ricin found in the flat were a false positive.[29]

The alleged 'UK poison cell' would nevertheless be cited by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in his case for war on Iraq at the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003.[30]

All of those arrested in Wood Green would be acquitted in April 2005, although Kamel Bourgass would be convicted of conspiring "together with other persons unknown to commit public nuisance by the use of poisons and/or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury". Bourgass had been arrested separately in a Manchester operation during which he had murdered detective Stephen Oake.[31]

In a statement to the Law Lords on 20 September 2005, Manningham-Buller disclosed that the Wood Green raid had been prompted by information provided Mohammed Meguerba in detention in Algeria. She cited this as evidence that "detainee reporting can be accurate and may enable lives to be saved.[32]

She said of Meguerba:

"In those circumstances, no inquiries were made of Algerian liaison about the precise circumstances that attended their questioning of Meguerba.
"In any event, questioning of Algerian liaison about their methods of questioning detainees would almost certainly have been rebuffed and at the same time would have damaged the relationship to the detriment of our ability to counter international terrorism."[33]

Manningham-Buller's testimony, in a case about the admissibility of evidence from detainees who may have been mistreated, was widely interpreted as condoning torture.[34][35]

Pat Finucane case

A June 2005 cable by the US ambassador in Dublin, featured an account of by US envoy Mitchell Reiss of a meeting with Manningham-Buller:

The Taoiseach raised the Finucane case, as did every other GOI official with whom Reiss met. Reiss briefed him on his talks in London, including with the head of MI5, who committed to turning over all evidence her agency has to the inquiry, but she was adamant that the inquiry will proceed using the new legislation. Reiss noted his concern that the Finucane case will become an irritant in Irish relations with the UK and get in the way of a deal.[36]

July 7 2005 bombings

According to The Guardian Manningham-Buller "told senior MPs there was no imminent terrorist threat to London or the rest of the country less than 24 hours before the July 7 suicide bombings."

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller gave the assurance at a private meeting of Labour whips at the Commons on the morning of July 6 2005, the Guardian has learned from a number of those present.
The whips are said to have been confident, on leaving the meeting, that they could brief fellow MPs that the security situation was under control, and are said to have been deeply alarmed by the following day's events.[37]

House of Lords

In a lecture at the House of Lords in March 2010, Manningham-Buller claimed that she had wondered in 2002 and 2003 how the US was able to obtain intelligence from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and that the Americans had concealed their use of torture techniques such as waterboarding from the British.[38]

Iraq Inquiry

Manningham-Buller testified to the Iraq Inquiry on 20 July 2010. During her testimony, she was critical of the intelligence case for the war, which she said had increased the 'homegrown' terrorist threat to Britain:

In terms of Iraq, we were not directly involved in the decision-making to go to war in Iraq; that was generally other people, although we were involved, obviously, in a number of meetings and in some of the discussions and of course in the JIC. Our focus was then on dealing with the manifestations of terrorist threats in the United Kingdom since 9/11, and since 9/11 and before our work was increasing exponentially. It increased very much more when we went into Iraq, but our main focus was dealing with the protection of the United Kingdom.[39]

External Resources


Notes

  1. Former Directors General, MI5, accessed 19 July 2009.
  2. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  3. Paul Vallely, Eliza Manningham-Buller: Spying dame, The Independent, 11 November 2006.
  4. Viscountess Dilhorne, telegraph.co.uk, 1 April 2004.
  5. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  6. Paul Vallely, Eliza Manningham-Buller: Spying dame, The Independent, 11 November 2006.
  7. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  8. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  9. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  10. Eliza Manningham-Buller: Life in the shadows, by Andrew Walker, BBC News, 7 October 2002.
  11. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  12. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.289.
  13. Paul Vallely, Eliza Manningham-Buller: Spying dame, The Independent, 11 November 2006.
  14. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.290.
  15. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.290.
  16. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.285.
  17. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, pp.284-285.
  18. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.285.
  19. Defending the Realm: MI5 and the Shayler Affair, by Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Andre Deutsch, 1999, p.238.
  20. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.290.
  21. Paul Vallely, Eliza Manningham-Buller: Spying dame, The Independent, 11 November 2006.
  22. Eliza Manningham-Buller, Iraq:Possible Response to a US Attack, 22 March 2002, Archived by the Iraq Inquiry.
  23. Paul Vallely, Eliza Manningham-Buller: Spying dame, The Independent, 11 November 2006.
  24. James Biltz and Jimmy Burns, A resolute spy who prefers to stay out in the cold, Financial Times, 11 January 2003, accessed via jimmy-burns-com, 19 July 2009.
  25. Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding, Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and The War On Terrorism, Andre Deutsch, 2003, p.15.
  26. James Biltz and Jimmy Burns, A resolute spy who prefers to stay out in the cold, Financial Times, 11 January 2003, accessed via jimmy-burns-com, 19 July 2009.
  27. James Biltz and Jimmy Burns, A resolute spy who prefers to stay out in the cold, Financial Times, 11 January 2003, accessed via jimmy-burns-com, 19 July 2009.
  28. James Biltz and Jimmy Burns, A resolute spy who prefers to stay out in the cold, Financial Times, 11 January 2003, accessed via jimmy-burns-com, 19 July 2009.
  29. George Smith, UK TERROR TRIAL FINDS NO TERROR: Not guilty of conspiracy to poison London with ricin,globalsecurity.org, 11 April 2005.
  30. George Smith, UK TERROR TRIAL FINDS NO TERROR: Not guilty of conspiracy to poison London with ricin,globalsecurity.org, 11 April 2005.
  31. Chris Summers, Questions over ricin conspiracy, BBC News, 13 April 2005.
  32. Statement of Eliza Manningham-Buller, Channel 4 news 20 October 2005.
  33. MI5's 'torture' evidence revealed, BBC News, 21 October 2005.
  34. Emily Rueben, The price of freedom?, Channel 4 News, 17 October 2005.
  35. David Sanderson, Torture valid as it saves lives, says MI5, The Times, 21 October 2005.
  36. US embassy cables: MI5 prepared to hand over files on Pat Finucane murder, guardian.co.uk, 12 December 2010.
  37. MI5 told MPs on eve of 7/7: no imminent terror threat, by Ian Cobain, David Hencke, and Richard Norton-Taylor.
  38. Ex-MI5 chief says US 'concealed suspect mistreatment', BBC, 20 March 2010.
  39. Baroness Manningham-Buller transcript, Iraq Inquiry, 20 January 2010.
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