FOIA response: Attorney General still has not finalised the promised Undertaking with the Detainee Inquiry

The Attorney General's Office has made a substantive reply to this FOIA request, just within the statutory 20 working days limit:

Attorney General's Office

20 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0NF

General enquiries: 020 7271 2492
Direct line: 020 7271 2492
Fax: 020 7271 2429
Your Ref:
Our Ref: FOI/93/11
Date: 20 September 2011

[name & address]
[email]

{civil servant name]@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk
www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk

Dear [name]

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST


Thank you for your email of 20 August, in which you made a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) in relation to the Detainee Inquiry. Specifically you asked for:


1. A full detailed copy of this promised Undertaking by the the Attorney General;
2. When this Undertaking was communicated to the Detainee Inquiry;
3. If this Undertaking is still to be published, the planned publication date, bearing in mind that it is now over a year since the prime Minister's letter.

In his written statement to the House of 6 July 2010, in announcing the setting up of an Inquiry to examine the treatment of detainees, the Prime Minister said that the Attorney General had agreed to provide an undertaking to witnesses who gave evidence to the Inquiry. Although agreed in principle, the exact wording of the undertaking to be given has not yet been finally agreed. At the date of this reply, there is no final version of the undertaking and no final version has thus been communicated to the Inquiry. When finalised, the undertaking will be published by the Inquiry at a time chosen by the Inquiry. I should explain, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, that the delay in finalising the precise wording of the undertaking is not delaying the Inquiry in its work.

Accordingly I have established that the information you requested is not held by this Department.

Yours sincerely,

[name of civil servant]
Freedom of Information Officer


I should explain, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, that the delay in finalising the precise wording of the undertaking is not delaying the Inquiry in its work

Until the detailed Undertaking is published, there is no chance that any current or former intelligence service insider, who has any whistleblowing evidence which might contradict what the official briefing documents given to the Detainee Inquiry so far, could possibly risk contacting the Detainee Inquiry, for fear of the several laws which could be abused to threaten them with.

Therefore the work of the Detainee Inquiry is being hindered whilst the precise wording of the Undertaking is finalised, over a year after it was promised.

Nothing yet from the Cabinet Office - see our
FOIA request to Cabinet Secretary regarding promised Undertaking about the Detainee Inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture

See also the reply to Spy Blog from the Detainee Inquiry itself:

Reply from the Detainee Inquiry, regarding anonymity protection for whistleblowers, surveillance targeting against the Inquiry itself etc.

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This United Kingdom based blog has been spawned from Spy Blog, and is meant to provide a place to track our Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to United Kingdom Government and other Public Authorities.

If you have suggestions for other FOIA requests,  bearing in mind the large list of exemptions, then email them to us, or use the comments facility on this blog, and we will see  what we can do, without you yourself having to come under the direct scrutiny of  "Sir Humphrey Appleby" or his minions.

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