Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Dumb-Ass Award goes too ???

Britain’s Top Antiterror Officer Resigns Over Slip-Up

Published: April 9, 2009
LONDON -- Britain’s most powerful counterterrorism officer resigned on Thursday, a day after being photographed carrying a document that outlined details of a major antiterrorism operation in northwest England and was clearly marked “Secret.”

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Steve Back/European Pressphoto Agency
Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick of the Metropolitan Police Department was photographed arriving at No 10 Downing Street on Wednesday carrying a document that outlined details of a major anti-terrorism operation.
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Richard Souter/Associated Press
Armed anti-terrorist police apprehend a suspect outside the library of John Moores University in Liverpool England on Wednesday during a series of terror raids in Britain's northwest.
The officer, Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick of the Metropolitan Police Department, said: “I deeply regret the disruption caused to colleagues undertaking the operation.” The airing of the document, visible to waiting reporters and photographers as Mr. Quick walked to Downing Street for a security briefing, provoked a hasty flurry of arrests and raids on properties by hundreds of antiterrorism officers around Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire late on Wednesday.

Twelve people are being questioned on suspicion of terrorist-related activities, the police said. The BBC reported that 10 of the people are Pakistanis in Britain on student visas, and that one is a British-born national.

The operation had been planned for the middle of the night but had to be carried out hours earlier, during the day, as a result of the impromptu disclosure. A number of the arrests were carried out at John Moores University, in Liverpool, in full view of other students.

The document contained names of antiterrorism officers and details about terrorist threats abroad, among other sensitive details, and was clearly visible to photographers with telephoto lenses. On Wednesday night, a judge barred the news media from revealing its contents.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said that he had accepted Mr. Quick’s resignation “with great sadness” and that the disclosure of the memo had been “extremely unfortunate.”

He added: “An operation that was very, very sensitive and important to counterterrorism, for rounding up terrorists, had been potentially compromised and there was a real difficulty there.” He said that John Yates, another assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Department, would replace Mr. Quick as head of counterterrorism for the department.

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said that she, too, had accepted Mr. Quick’s resignation. “Although the operation was successful, he felt that his position was untenable,” she said.