15 October 2011 — Daily Mail
The real reason Liam Fox had to resign was not a grubby little money scandal about firms funding Adam Werritty as he jetted round the world with the Defence Secretary. It was much more important, and much worse, than that.
Last Sunday, ‘friends of Liam Fox’ were letting it be known that the investigation of Werritty would bring up nothing scandalous.
These friends were widely reported as saying that Werritty’s funding came from those wishing to promote U.S. and Israeli interests to the British government.
Yet that ‘defence’ of Fox touched on precisely the point that had started alarm bells ringing among senior civil servants throughout Whitehall.
Not only was Werritty being paid to act as an unofficial part of the Defence Secretary’s entourage, the money was coming from people who may have been ready to promote the interests of certain foreign governments, particularly the United States, Israel and Sri Lanka.
While the United States is a very close ally, its commercial and other interests are not always identical to UK interests.
Israel is not a military ally of the UK. There are often tensions between its interests in the Middle East and the UK’s interests, as in the attack on the Gaza Aid convoy which resulted in the death of Turkish citizens. Turkey is an ally of the UK, being a vital member of NATO.
As for the Sri Lankan government, there are serious concerns over its human rights record, particularly after major hostilities with Tamil rebel fighters had ceased.
The British Defence Secretary should be exclusively concerned with the interests only of Britain.
But it is plain as a pikestaff that Fox had retained his effective partnership with Werritty in lobbying activities that not only were concerned with Israel and Sri Lanka, but which actively sought to promote the geo-strategic interests of those countries – for money.
I was contacted early last week by a senior Whitehall source – somebody I have known for more than a decade – who has access to the Cabinet Office investigation.
They were worried the Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell’s investigation was being misdirected onto only the very narrow question of whether Werritty received specific payments for setting up specific meetings with Fox – playing into Fox’s extraordinary House of Commons defence that Werritty was ‘not dependent on any transactional behaviour to maintain his income’.
But my source told me that what really was worrying senior officials in the MOD, FCO and Cabinet Office was the possibility that Fox could be being used as a ‘useful idiot’ by Mossad, Israel’s far-reaching and extremely effective intelligence service.
Key funding sources for Werritty were from the Israeli lobby and a rather obscure commercial intelligence agency.
Might Mossad be pulling Werritty’s strings, with or without his knowledge?
On Friday, two senior Fleet Street journalists also reported hearing similar concerns from other Whitehall officials about possible Israeli intelligence service involvement with Fox and Werritty.
By working closely with an unofficial aide with extraordinary access but no security vetting and murky funding sources, Fox had potentially compromised national security. That is the real story here.
Let us hope that Fox’s fall will remind future Defence Secretaries that there is only one country whose interests they should seek to defend – and that is this one.