Names of weapons sales officers must be released

The Guardian has managed to get a meaningful decision out of the Information Commissioner. This ruling sets a good precedent for a number of cases where public officials are refusing to be identified.

Watchdog orders MoD to unmask arms sales officers
By David Leigh and Rob Evans
The Guardian, 26 April 2006

The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, yesterday ordered the Ministry of Defence to release the names and details of its 500 arms sales officials. The MoD has spent the last year trying to keep their identities secret, claiming they may be harassed by peace campaigners.

Mr Thomas, who polices the Freedom of Information Act, said there was no evidence that officials would be put in danger if the Defence Exports Services Organisation [DESO] staff directory was published. The directory is already circulated to arms manufacturers and banks…

The ruling will have a significant effect within Whitehall. Officials in many other departments have been trying to use a variety of loopholes under the FoI act to keep their identities secret and delete their names from released documents.

The decision opens the way for Whitehall departments to be required to publish their internal phone books, as happens in the United States…

Read the full article here
The Information Commissioner’s decision notice.

One Response to “Names of weapons sales officers must be released”

  1. Peter HOAR says:

    Of course the MOD has appealed this decision to the Information Tribunal (EA/2006/0027 – posted today june 12th) I presume the argument will be about releasing what the guys asked for (The March 2004 directory) rather than the March 2006 directory, which is the current edition. Ahh … the benefits of procrastination and unresolved overload. Peter HOAR

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