Navy whistleblower William McNeilly is now in the custody of military police in Scotland following the publication of a report alleging serious security and safety failings in Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that McNeilly was “apprehended” on Monday night by Royal Navy Police and is being held at a military facility in Scotland.
In the 18-page report, published on the WikiLeaks site, McNeilly warned of the “shockingly extreme conditions that our nuclear weapons system is in” claiming that Britain’s “nuclear weapons are a target that’s wide open to attack.”
The Navy has rejected his allegations saying that they represent “subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor.” However, they also confirmed that there would be an investigation into “both the issue of the unauthorised release of this document and its contents.”
Here are all of the most serious allegations made in the report:
- He was able to record the full instructions for the safety and security of the Trident II D5 strategic weapon system, which are kept secured in a safe in the Missile Control Centre and should not be able to be shared, on his Samsung Galaxy SII phone.
- He could access secure areas, including the ships themselves, without proper security checks — sometimes showing a “[hotel] room-card or nothing” to security personnel.
- Luggage brought onto the submarines was not checked.
- One of the nuclear submarines, HMS Vanguard, was in such poor condition that it tried to set sail “countless times” but was forced back to dock, meaning that the other ships had to do extended tours.
- The submarine he was assigned to set sail with 31 extra unqualified submariners on it than should have been allowed and could be accommodated.
- Sea water leaking into the Main Hydraulic Plant prevented the submarine from being able to operate its missile tube muzzle hatches, preventing the ship from conducting a Battle Readiness Test (BRT) to demonstrate that it could fire missiles if necessary.
- The crew routinely muted alarms on the system designed to monitor the condition of the missiles.
- A crew member accidentally flooded the torpedo compartment, and failed to follow protocol to prevent a possible electrical fire as a result.
- He reports a conversation with a more senior officer who claimed that HMS Vanguard had been involved in a collision with a French submarine causing serious damage, but alleges that the event was covered up.
- A serious fire in a missile compartment caused by stacking toilet roll along the decks of the submarine set alight by the head of electrical cables running alongside them.
- McNeilly says there were “some people that I served with on that patrol, who showed clear psychopathic tendencies.”
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