Judges have made an extraordinary attack on the Barack Obama administration for continuing threats to withhold vital terrorism intelligence from Britain in a row over torture.
The High Court revealed today that the US had threatened to review its special intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK if documents relating to the alleged torture of a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay were made public.
The judges reluctantly agreed to keep secret the papers relating to the treatment of Ethiopian Binyam Mohamed, who claimed asylum here, in light of the ‘gravity’ of the threat made by the Americans.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband had warned there was a ‘real risk’ that the potential loss of intelligence cooperation would seriously increase the threat from terror faced by the UK, and fought against the documents being released.
Campaigners said the most astonishing aspect of the case was that the threats, while first made under the Bush Administration, had not been withdrawn since President Obama took office.
This is despite Mr Obama signing executive orders for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year, and placing a ban on waterboarding, widely considered a form of torture.
Former shadow home secretary David Davis demanded a Commons statement on the ruling, calling it a ‘matter of utmost national importance’.