Classified Nato intelligence has been handed to the Russians within half an hour of being shared within the alliance, a former Army Colonel turned Tory MP claimed today.
Bob Stewart said ‘secret’ was the last thing intelligence documents marked as such were while he served in Nato forces during the 1990s.
And the veteran of the Bosnia war even claimed he still had concerns about fellow parliamentarians who take part in Nato proceedings today – insisting he had to be ‘robust’ in resisting demands from other nations politicians for universal sharing of intelligence.
Tory MP Bob Stewart, pictured at today’s defence committee, claimed ‘secret’ Nato intelligence was shared with Russia in just 30 minutes while he served with the British Army
Speaking at a meeting of the Commons defence committee, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said it was a real problem but that there was a new ‘initiative’ to try and resolve it.
Mr Fallon was giving evidence to the committee, of which Mr Stewart is a member, on the recent Nato summit in Warsaw.
Mr Fallon told the committee there was a ‘tension’ between the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance of Britain, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and other Nato members.
And he told the committee: ‘I am happy to report to you that at the Warsaw summit, the summit did adopt what it called the Joint Intelligence and Surveillance Initiative which will I hope maximise the resources the individual members of Nato have.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, pictured in Downing Street today, said measures were in place to improve intelligence security
‘It will enhance the interconnectivity between the different intelligence systems that will help improve the training and expertise of the intelligence functions in each of the different member states.
‘And I hope it will lead to better procedures for information handling and information sharing – there is quite a way to go to that but we did make some progress at Warsaw.’
But in response Colonel Stewart said: ‘As a member of the Nato parliamentary assembly I had to resist quite strongly as did other British members the demand by some other parliamentarians in Nato states to insist all intelligence should be shared equally among Nato members.
‘This particularly came from countries like Belgium. I and others were quite robust in saying ”you must be joking”.
‘There is a dilemma here – when I served in Nato we reckoned with anything Nato: Secret Classified on it took half an hour before the Russians had it.
‘There was huge leakage there so it’s a big problem. I know you understand that.
‘There is a real dilemma that when someone says Nato: Secret that’s the last bloody thing it is.’
Mr Fallon replied: ‘There is a tension there and as the alliance expands there are more and more members to consider.
‘What I want to assure you of is everybody recognises the problems not least because of the terrorism members are facing in western Europe and need to share intelligence more swiftly.
‘The problem is recognised and we have this initiative now to try and improve this position.’
Colonel Bob Stewart served as a tank commander in Bosnia before turning to politics as a second career