Civil servants and deception

The situation regarding the Official Secrets Act is much worse than you describe (Leader, 15 October). I was threatened with the OSA when suddenly dismissed from government service in January 2000. It took only weeks to prove that key documents had been withheld during the proceedings. Not until November 2003 did a civil servant admit threatening me. Finally, in response to a written parliamentary question, the government conceded that I had reported corruption and sought a disciplinary investigation prior to my sudden dismissal. The abuse of power continued, preventing me from gaining alternative employment.

The courts have consistently refused to accept jurisdiction over my claim under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. Being threatened under the OSA is judged to be no defence against delaying a legal claim, even when submitting details of the claim would render the claimant liable to criminal prosecution under the Official Secrets Acts. Such Kafkaesque scenarios are embedded in the workings of Whitehall and the courts. The misuse of the OSA must become a criminal offence. Civil servants ought not to be protected when making threats intended to cover up deception and corruption.

Howard Horsley
Much Wenlock, Shropshire

This article first appeared in the 22 October 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Who’s afraid of Michael Moore?