Mystery of the Saudi 'threat'
In The Guardian, 1 August 2008, David Howarth, the UK Liberal Democrats' shadow solicitor general, wrote about the Mystery of the Saudi 'threat' .
Howarth reminds us that the BAE investigation was halted because of a Saudi 'threat'.
"But was the threat genuine?" asks Howarth.
According to Howarth:
"The nagging thought is that the Saudi threat was a put up job.
"Either it did not happen at all in the way suggested by the government, or it did happen but only after prompting.
"The reason the government was not outraged by the threat is simply that there was never a real threat to be outraged...
"It is noticeable that BAE's own initial objections to the investigation, in late 2005, make no reference to national security issues or to terrorism, and when the attorney general carried out the first 'Shawcross' exercise (asking other ministers for their views of the public interest) in December 2005, even though he had already been in contact with the Ministry of Defence, he made no reference to those issues either...
Even in September 2006, more than a month after Prince Bandar supposedly made his threats, the attorney general did not think the risks serious enough to warrant abandoning the investigation..."