Britain has denied the story in the Daily Mail that British officials knew about the use of false British passports (and reportedly stolen identities) for the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai (here).
An Israeli agent reportedly stated that MI6 was told in advance that Israel would use the passport for an “overseas operation” — an operation that was to be a hit.
The story would certainly seem to fit with the idea that Israel would not risk violating long-standing intelligence relationships with such a move. However, if it is true, the government has engaged in an intentional and planned effort to lie to both the British people and the Parliament in feigning ignorance. This could mean a scandal as great for the Brown administration as for Israel itself.
For that story, click here.
The question is now how Parliament will respond. If this story were true, it is not surprising that the government would deny it. Even without this story, there should be a full investigation into whether Israel violated the laws of as many as five countries, including stealing the identities of English citizens. The absence of a call for an investigation is a bit unnerving. Thus far, the British government has simply asked for explanations from the Israelis — a notably mild response. The use of such passports would leave the impression that Britain was involved in an international assassination. With Interpol now calling for the arrest of the British passport holders, this controversy could easily grow in the coming weeks, particularly if any one of these eleven individuals is arrested.
For the story, click here.