Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Food writer's online guide to building an H-bomb...the 'evidence' that put this man in Guantanamo

By Jason Lewis
Published 08th February 2009

A British ‘resident’ held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a ‘joke’ website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the ‘instructions’ after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.

It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top
Al Qaeda terrorist.

TORTURE CLAIMS: Binyam Mohamed, the man held at Guantanamo after reading a satirical website, which 'teaches' its readers how to build a bomb

TORTURE CLAIMS: Binyam Mohamed, the man held at Guantanamo after reading a satirical website, which 'teaches' its readers how to build a bomb

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication’s food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.

Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its ‘extraordinary rendition programme’.

During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.

The Foreign Secretary is refusing to release classified documents relating to Mohamed’s detention.

Last week, the High Court ruled that the 42 intelligence papers must remain secret.
However, the judges insisted they had no choice because the Government had informed them of a ‘threat’ by the US to withdraw all intelligence co-operation with Britain if the papers were published by the court.

Mr Miliband was then forced to defend the claim in the House of Commons, insisting that the US needed ‘confidence that its secrets are safe with us’.

However, details of what Mohamed told his interrogators, unearthed by this newspaper, are likely to cast further doubt on Mr Miliband’s stance.

We can reveal that the story which apparently led to Mohamed’s ordeal could not possibly have been used by a terrorist to build a nuclear weapon. The satirical article, published in Seven Days magazine, says its authors were given ‘three days to cook up a workable H-bomb. They did and we have decided to share their culinary secrets with you’.

It adds: ‘Not that Seven Days supports nuclear terrorism. We don’t. We would prefer to die from familiar poisons like low-level radiation, microwaves, DDT or food dyes, rather than unexpectedly, say as hostage to a Latvian nationalists brandishing a home-made bomb.’

GUANTANAMO: The U.S. prison where Mohamed was held after being identified as a terrorist by the CIA

GUANTANAMO: The U.S. prison where Mohamed was held after being identified as a terrorist by the CIA

The recipe is highly detailed and plainly ridiculous. The prospective bomb maker is instructed to transform uranium gas into liquid by ‘subjecting it to pressure’, adding: ‘You can use a bicycle pump for this.’

The instructions continue: ‘Then make a simple home centrifuge. Fill a standard-size bucket one-quarter full of liquid uranium hexafluoride.

‘Attach a 6ft rope to the bucket handle. Now swing the rope (and attached bucket) around your head as fast as possible. Keep this up for about 45 minutes.

‘Slow down gradually, and very gently put the bucket on the floor. The U-235 – a uranium isotope which can be used to cause an explosive chain reaction – will have risen to the top, where it can be skimmed off like cream. Repeat this step until you have the required 10lb of uranium.’

Last night, Mohamed’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, confirmed that the article was central to claims that his client was planning a dirty bomb attack.

‘Unclassified evidence corroborates Binyam’s claims that he was threatened – at the time the White House was obsessed by the idea terrorists had access to nuclear materials,’ he added. ‘Binyam said that he told them about a website he had once seen on the internet called How To Build An H-Bomb. He said that this was a joke but they thought it might be serious.

‘I am speculating but I think this news was sent up the line to the White House, which is when the paranoia kicked in. They authorised the “enhanced interrogation techniques” against Binyam, including the rendition. This is how they made their
huge mistake, thinking he was a major terrorist as opposed to a London janitor.

‘It explains why they took a nobody and subjected him to the worst torture of any US prisoner in the past seven years.’

David Miliband urged America to send Binyam Mohamed torture letter, says Bush aide

By Jason Lewis
Published 14th February 2009

Row: A former aide to George Bush says David Miliband was involved in a torture cover-up

Row: A former aide to George Bush says David Miliband was involved in a torture cover-up

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is at the centre of damaging new claims that he colluded with the US to cover up the alleged torture of a British resident in Guantanamo Bay.

A senior member of George Bush’s administration has disclosed Foreign Office officials asked them to draft the letter which warned intelligence sharing could be damaged if documents about Binyam Mohamed’s treatment were published.

The letter played a key role in the decision by two High Court judges to suppress the reports following a challenge by Mohamed’s lawyers.

In their judgment they said they wanted the details of his alleged torture to be published – but that by doing so the US government could ‘inflict on the citizens of the UK a very considerable increase in the dangers they face at a time when a serious terrorist threat still pertains’.

Mr Miliband had earlier issued a Public Immunity Certificate banning the release of the 42 documents that allegedly confirmed Mohamed’s claims he was maltreated after being seized in Pakistan and accused of terrorism.

The letter – from John Bellinger, the State Department’s chief legal adviser – said: ‘We want to affirm the public disclosure of these documents is likely to result in serious damage to US national security and could harm existing intelligence information-sharing arrangements between our two Governments.’

A source close to Mr Bellinger revealed his letter had been sent only after a specific request from the Foreign Office. He said the State Department had earlier been asked by Mr Miliband’s officials for its position on releasing the intelligence material.

The State Department checked with the CIA, which said it did not want the evidence published.

The source said: ‘Mr Miliband then found himself in a fight he did not want. He has political aspirations and he was in a position he did not want to be in. Of being forced to personally defend the US position.

‘So what they [the Foreign Office] said is please give us your position in writing so that we can produce it in court.

‘The letter, allegedly bullying and threatening, was really just a formal statement of the US government’s position solicited by the Foreign Office.

‘The letter was solicited so that the Foreign Office and Mr Miliband didn’t have to be in the middle of this.’

Captive: Binyam Mohamed

Captive: Binyam Mohamed

During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay.

He claims that he was beaten, chained, deprived of sleep and had his genitals cut with a razor.

The secret CIA documents are alleged to detail his initial detention in Pakistan, when he was interviewed by MI5.

An unnamed MI5 officer who interviewed him allegedly told his superiors that Mohamed looked thin but did not ask if he had been maltreated.

However, it is unclear when MI5 was first given access to the secret material.

Last night David Davis, former Shadow Home Secretary, said: ‘The Foreign Office have colluded with the Americans to produce a document to protect David Miliband.’

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We did ask the Americans to make their position [on this matter] clear in writing to inform both us and the court.

‘This is a perfectly sensible thing to do.’

British officials were travelling to Guantanamo Bay yesterday to visit detainee Binyam Mohamed to get ready for his expected release.

The team includes a doctor, who will assess the condition of the 30-year-old after the hunger strike he has maintained for more than a month.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘A team of British officials left Miami Airport to visit Mr Mohamed.

'The visit will make preparations for his return, should the ongoing US review into detainees confirm a decision to release him.’

Mohamed’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said he was ‘very hopeful’ that his client would be back in the UK by the middle of the week.

MI5 knew we were torturing British terror suspects, claim Pakistan agents

By Jason Lewis

Published 22nd February 2009

binyam mohamed

Freedom: Binyam Mohamed is on the verge of release from Guantanamo Bay and is expected to fly home to Britain

Pakistani secret service agents say they routinely tortured British terror suspects in their custody with the full knowledge of MI5 and MI6.

The damning testimony is set to increase the pressure on Foreign Secretary David Miliband after he blocked the release of secret US evidence allegedly confirming torture took place.

The claim comes as former British asylum seeker Binyam Mohamed is expected to fly back to the UK tomorrow after being released from US custody at Guantanamo Bay.

In the past eight years, he claims he was flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco and a US-run ‘Dark Prison’ near Kabul, Afghanistan.

He says he was beaten, chained, deprived of sleep and had his genitals cut with a razor.

Now, witness statements from Pakistani intelligence officials appear to confirm that British intelligence knew suspects were being maltreated, sometimes within hours of being interviewed by MI5 and MI6 officers.

The new evidence also suggests British officials were feeding Pakistani colleagues key questions to use when interrogating suspects under duress.

One Pakistani agent is quoted as saying: ‘Of course they [the British] knew that we were beating them up, hanging them upside down and whipping them. That’s what we do.’

The interviews with the Pakistani officials were conducted by officials from Human Rights Watch, the respected international non-government organisation.

Next month it is due to publish a full report on alleged UK complicity in torture after an investigation into treatment of ten British terror suspects held in Pakistan. The report includes the statements from unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials.

Last night Human Rights Watch, which has previously given evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, said it was convinced Britain was ‘outsourcing torture’.

A senior official with HRW said: ‘Our new report will provide greater detail of what amounts to torture and British awareness and effective complicity in the torture of suspects.’ Asked who was involved on the British side, the official said: ‘British security agents.’

He said British agents were not direct participants in torture sessions but added: ‘The suspects go through these torture sessions by the Pakistani agencies, then the British interview the suspects. The suspects then go back into custody. They are then beaten and tortured and then more questions are asked by the British agents.

‘The British questions form part of the violent process. They are aware the suspects are injured, they fail to take notice of this. They put forward questions as part of this process. ‘At no time are the British agencies seen torturing directly. But we believe it amounts to the outsourcing of torture.’

The official said HRW had interviewed several former British detainees about their treatment and crucially, for the first time, they had been able to check their accounts with Pakistani officials.

‘The evidence comes not just from victims of torture but also from perpetrators of torture. They said, “Yes, it happened and as far as we are aware the British were aware it happened”.

‘British security agencies were aware the suspects were being tortured yet they turned a blind eye. That complicity makes them criminally liable.’

HRW said the Pakistanis have given graphic accounts of methods they used to try to get British suspects to talk. These included pulling out suspects’ fingernails, injecting drugs into them, beatings, hanging upside down and whipping.

‘Torture sessions lasted several hours at a time,’ the HRW official added.

Human Rights Watch says it has alerted the British Government to the contents of its report.

The new revelations follow the row over the decision to block the disclosure of secret US intelligence papers allegedly describing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, 30.

Judges agreed to Mr Miliband’s request after the Foreign Office gave them a letter from the US which they interpreted as a threat to withdraw intelligence co-operation if the secret papers were released.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed that State Department chief legal adviser John Bellinger sent the letter only after a Foreign Office request.

A Foreign Office spokesman said last night: ‘The UK unreservedly condemns torture.

‘The Attorney General has been asked to examine whether any crimes were committed in Mr Mohamed’s treatment. This is the proper democratic and legal process and we cannot comment further until the Attorney General finishes her investigation.’


Body in charge of UK policing policy is now an £18m-a-year brand charging the public £70 for a 60p criminal records check

Britain's most powerful police body is being run as a private business with an annual income of around £18million.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which oversees everything from anti-terrorism policy to speed cameras, was last night facing demands that it be disbanded, following a Mail on Sunday investigation into its activities which include:

  • Selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 – even though it pays just 60 pence to access those details.
  • Marketing ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices.
  • Operating a separate private firm offering training to speed camera operators, which is run by a senior officer who was banned from driving.
Ken Jones, President of ACPO

The boss: Ken Jones, President of ACPO, has £140,000 a year plus a police pension

  • Advising the Government and police forces – earning £32million of taxpayers’ money in the process.
  • Employing retired senior officers on lucrative salaries.

Until now, ACPO’s central role in policing has not been questioned as it is seen as an essential, if sometimes controversial, public body writing the rules on police operations as well as campaigning on key issues such as the proposed 90-day detention for terror suspects and the DNA database.

But the organisation is not a public body, nor is it a police trade union or even a campaign group. It is a private company – a self-styled ‘global brand name’ – paid millions of pounds a year by the taxpayer to effectively run the nation’s police forces.

Because ACPO is a private company, members of the public cannot use the Freedom of Information Act to scrutinise its operations. Last night it came under fire from politicians and human rights lawyers, who called for its immediate reform.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, questioned whether ACPO’s role as a company with increasing national powers was ‘legal’. She said: ‘They need to be stopped in their tracks.’

At the centre of the controversy are the services ‘sold’ by ACPO and over which it has a monopoly.

The association is headed by former Sussex Chief Constable Sir Ken Jones, who earns £138,702 a year and receives a further £30,000 in pension contributions on top of his existing police pension.

Its unpaid board includes Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, Sir Paul Scott-Lee, West Midlands Chief Constable, and Tim Hollis, Chief Constable of Humberside.

It also employs a number of former high-ranking police officers on lucrative short-term contracts.

Its staff bill is £1.4million a year – which averages out at £66,000 for each of its 21 employees, although that figure also includes pension contributions and retainers paid to former members of staff acting as consultants.

Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes

Chairman of RSS Meredydd Hughes claims all speed cameras should be hidden and mobile

ACPO was set up in 1997, replacing an informal network of police chiefs who decided national policies. It was established as a formal body ‘to deal with growing budgets, the need to sign leases [and] the need to directly employ people’.

In the past two years its influence and public role has expanded to playing a major role in formulating national police policy, advising Ministers and overseeing the development of the National Police Improvement Agency, which runs the controversial DNA database and Police National Computer.

Its annual income from ‘project’ work for the police and Home Office has risen to £15million, from just £1.3million in 2005.

But its growth has taken place without any parliamentary debate and without being subject to public scrutiny, and its decisions are largely taken in secret.

According to its accounts, it earned money from the taxpayer for ‘co-ordination of the national police response to terrorism, organised crime [and] large operations such
as the Suffolk prostitute murders’.

It also says it was paid for its involvement in arranging the ‘use of police cells across the country to house prisoners’.

In 2007 ACPO rewrote its statement of purpose adopting ‘a new, more responsive business structure’.

The new document included the assertion that it would ‘continue to develop our business activities to ensure that the ACPO brand name is recognised globally as a mark of excellence in policing’.

It is unclear who decides how much ACPO charges the Home Office and police forces for its activities. Its board members can claim expenses but their salaries are paid by their individual police forces.

As a ‘not for profit’ company it does not pay dividends to its shareholders, but its accounts show a significant annual surplus, which has led to ACPO having £15.8million in assets, including £9.2million ‘cash at bank and in hand’.

ACPO's Central London base, close to Scotland Yard

Corporate HQ: ACPO's Central London base, close to Scotland Yard

ACPO says this money is to fund future projects, but the accounts show its cash account grew from £6million in 2007 to £9million this year and earned interest of nearly £1.4million over the period.

Boosting this annual surplus are a number of ACPO subsidiaries which sell ‘police’ services. It recently set up ACRO – the ACPO Criminal Records Office – which sells so-called police certificates which reveal whether someone has a criminal record.

Headed by retired Hampshire Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead, who has a £50,000 contract with ACPO, it provides the documents required by people applying for visas to work or live in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Until now visa applicants could obtain these details by making what was known as a ‘subject access request’ to the police. The maximum charge for these requests was £10.

But according to the US Embassy, ACPO approached them and offered to provide their own criminal record certificates. These are now the only documents acceptable for visa applications.

Under the new system, applicants fill out an online form and receive a statement about whether or not they have a criminal record.

According to the National Police Improvement Agency, which runs the Police National Computer, ACPO is charged 60p for each search.

However, ACPO charges the public up to £70 for its ‘premium service’, while its standard service – which takes ten days – costs £35.

Last year ACPO received an income of £197,633 from the service, which is not available from any other agency. It says its charges are reasonable because the service involves ‘additional processing elements including photography processing and a full report prepared for each application’.

Another lucrative ACPO offshoot is ACPO Crime Prevention Initiatives Ltd. The company, which charges manufacturers to approve their crime-prevention products such as burglar alarms and blast doors, had a turnover of £981,500 last year.

The firm’s accounts show that it made a healthy surplus of £225,000 on that income and paid its directors £107,000.

The firm issues Secured by Design licences and advertises the approved firms’ telephone numbers and other contact details on the ACPO website.

The website says: ‘The company is funded through partnership with companies whose products meet technical standards identified by ACPO.’

Products that meet that standard can display the Secured by Design logo with the wording ‘Police Preferred Specification’.

Richard Childs, former Chief Constable of Lincolnshire, is managing director of ACPO Crime Prevention Initiatives and earns £42,500 a year.

ACPO is also involved with Road Safety Support Ltd. According to documents at Companies House, RSS was established last year to ‘provide secretarial support to the ACPO Road Policing Enforcement Technology Committee and the Chair of the ACPO Safety Camera Administration Group’.

An independent affiliate of ACPO, the firm also provides expert witnesses to combat ‘loophole’ lawyers attempting to beat speeding offences. It also provides training to speed camera operators.

The chairman of RSS is Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire. He was formerly the chairman of ACPO’s roads policing group but stood down following a driving ban after being caught on camera speeding at 90mph.

Mr Hughes, who has claimed that all speed cameras should be hidden and mobile, is not paid by the company.

ACPO said RSS is a non-profit-making private limited company set up to provide support to both Safety Camera Partnerships, which install speed cameras across the country, and the Highways Authorities on ‘a variety of legal and technical issues of road safety’.

Conservative Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling last night questioned ACPO’s role, and called for its reform. He said: ‘Is it an external reference group for Home Office Ministers or a professional association protecting senior officers’ interests?

Is it a national policing agency? Is it a pressure group arguing for greater police powers? I am planning to have serious discussions about their role.

‘I was particularly concerned by the Government’s decision to give them a statutory role in senior police appointments. There are real questions to be asked about whether they can carry out all of these roles and I think change might very well be necessary.’

Shami Chakrabarti, of Liberty, questioned whether ACPO’s role as a company with increasing national powers was legal. She said: ‘It is legally questionable for senior police officers to be running this sort of business.’

She added that police officers’ powers were limited by statute and any increase in those powers had to be approved by Parliament. By increasing its national role and engaging in commercial activities, ACPO could be breaking the law, she said.

Ms Chakrabarti added: ‘ACPO is many things. It advises Government, it sets policing policy, it campaigns for increased police powers, and now we learn it is engaged in commercial activities – all with a rather shady lack of accountability.

‘When they take positions on issues, it is very unclear who is deciding to do so. Our Parliament decided that we do not have a national police force
in this country. It is considered anti-democratic to put so much power
in one place. This is why we have regional police forces.

‘But ACPO is morphing into a national police force where they all take a single line on holding terror suspects for 42 days or ID cards and individual chief constables aren’t supposed to speak out. None of this should be happening without an Act of Parliament.

‘They need to be stopped in their tracks and there should be a fundamental review of ACPO and all its functions.’

An ACPO spokesman defended the organisation’s activities. He said: ‘ACPO is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest, ACPO leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the police service nationally.

‘In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response.

‘ACPO is funded in part by the Government in order to collectively develop advice for them. Project work which ACPO undertakes on behalf of the police service is at the request of the Home Office and goes towards public protection against serious and strategic threats that can only be tackled above force level.

'All funds to ACPO are employed in the interests of public safety and the police service.’

He denied that the organisation was keeping huge amounts of money from public funds in cash in its bank accounts.

He said: ‘All funds from the Home Office are tied to projects to tackle serious and strategic threats on behalf of the police service. As projects can be delivered across a number of years, it follows [our year] end accounts may show a surplus.’

Now 'Police Chiefs PLC' cashes in on speeding drivers

Speed camera

ACPO will earn millions from the 'retraining' of drivers caught breaking the speed limit

Britain's most powerful policing organisation has set up a private company to cash in on its own orders to send speeding drivers on retraining courses.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has told all police forces that from April hundreds of thousands of motorists should be sent on Speed Awareness Schemes rather than receiving penalty points and fines.

At the same time it has set up a new company which will earn millions of pounds running the only database recording which motorists are eligible for 'retraining'.

ACPO is already under fire after The Mail on Sunday disclosed that, despite setting police policy on everything from anti-terrorism to speed cameras, it is a private company - dubbed Police Chiefs PLC by this newspaper - with an annual income, mostly funded by the taxpayer, of £18million.

Now it is set to earn an estimated £5million a year checking speeding drivers' eligibility for the national Driver Offender Retraining Scheme.

The work is being done by ACPO subsidiary company Road Safety Support (RSS). It will oversee a database that holds records on whether speeding drivers are disqualified from taking a retraining course because they had already taken one in the previous three years.

According to the DVLA, this database was set up by the Government agency but in January 2008 was turned over to ACPO.

Now RSS has the job of running the database and police forces will be charged £5 for each driver's details checked. Last year 2.1million drivers were caught speeding in the UK.

If only half qualify for a training course, the company will generate an income of more than £5million a year by checking drivers' eligibility.

RSS also makes money from around 30 police and local authorities running safety camera partnerships.

ACPO's Central London base, close to Scotland Yard

'Police Chiefs PLC': ACPO's Central London headquarters

RSS is yet to file accounts with Companies House but it has told local police that this operation will generate a turnover of £900,000 in its first year of operation.

It earns this money by charging speed camera partnerships a percentage of the £110million Government grant each area gets to spend on road safety projects.

The speed camera managers are promised access to RSS's self-styled 'Dream Team' of experts to combat 'loophole lawyers' who get clients acquitted of offences on technicalities.

But RSS lawyer Andrew Perry actually works for the Crown Prosecution Service and his work is already funded by the taxpayer.

Last night a CPS spokesman said: 'Andrew Perry is a Crown Advocate, employed by and paid by the CPS, who is seconded to work with Road Safety Support. RSS pay the CPS the full cost of this secondment.'

An ACPO spokesman said: 'ACPO is introducing speed awareness courses nationally. Driver Offender Retraining course attendance held with the Police National Computer. Administration will be provided by RSS.

'The database administration charge is £1.50. It is proposed that this will increase to £5. RSS does not make profits and any surplus will be returned to road safety initiatives.'

Secret police unit set up to spy on British 'domestic extremists'

Plane Stupid

Target: Members of the Plane Stupid group, pictured on the runway at Stansted Airport in December, could be under scrutiny from the new unit

A secret police intelligence unit has been set up to spy on Left-wing and Right-wing political groups.

The Confidential Intelligence Unit (CIU) has the power to operate across the UK and will mount surveillance and run informers on ‘domestic extremists’.

Its job is to build up a detailed picture of radical campaigners.

Targets will include environmental groups involved in direct action such as Plane Stupid, whose supporters invaded the runway at Stansted Airport in December.

The unit also aims to identify the ring-leaders behind violent demonstrations such as the recent anti-Israel protests in London, and to infiltrate neo-Nazi groups, animal liberation groups and organisations behind unlawful industrial action such as secondary picketing.

The CIU’s role will be similar to the ‘counter subversion’ functions formerly carried out by MI5.

The so-called reds under the bed operations focused on trade unionists and peace campaigners but were abandoned by MI5 to concentrate on Islamic terrorism.

The unit is being set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and will be based at Scotland Yard in Central London.

An internal police job advertisement for the ‘Head of Confidential Intelligence Unit’, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, reveals key details of its wide-ranging powers.

The advert says the unit will work closely with Government departments, university authorities and private sector companies to ‘remove the threat of criminality and public disorder that arises from domestic extremism’.

The CIU will also use legal proceedings to prevent details of its operations being made public.

Its chief will play an active part in obtaining Public Interest Immunity Certificates from Government Ministers, and will attend ‘legal meetings regarding sensitive source material’.

Another vacancy, for an administration officer, states that the CIU will be involved in the collection of ‘secret data’.

The job descriptions indicate that the postholders will have links with MI5.

Details of the senior vacancies were circulated to police forces last year - the closing date for applications was November 14, 2008.

The top job was open to officers of at least the rank of Detective Chief Inspector.

MI5’s counter subversion role led to it compiling files on Left-wing student activists in the Sixties and Seventies.

These included records on Jack Straw and Peter Mandelson.