Deborah Haynes reveals in The Times today that the MoD, in its infinite wisdom, has published the details of every regular officer, reservist officer and university trainee on a government website.
I first met Deborah in Camp Bastion in 2012 when my unauthorised and unmonitored conversation with her caused the army media team who were handling her visit to get into a flap that I may have said something ‘off-message’.
When she called yesterday to ask me how I felt about the MoD’s public disclosure of my name, along with 20,000 others, I was a little taken aback. I assured her she must be mistaken. After the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013, servicemen have been repeatedly warned about the dangers of revealing their military service on social media and are cautioned against wearing their uniforms in public. Following this guidance and the very real risk of being targeted by Islamic terrorists, the MoD would never be so cavalier with our personal security.
I should have known better. This is, after all, the same ministry that continued to issue Lariam to troops long after the manufacturer had warned of the mental health risks associated with the drug. The same ministry that awarded Sir Bernard Grey a £45,000 bonus after he ran up an £23,000 expenses bill. And the same ministry that has paid £440 million in a failed recruitment drive.
Our names were published without our consent following a freedom of information request submitted, presumably, by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or one of his flunkies. Now that Deborah has exposed the blunder it’s comforting to know that the MoD has no plans to remove the list, insisting that ‘the security of our people is our foremost concern’.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.