An ex-spy chief ‘liberated ISIS secrets from TV crew’: The former head of GCHQ inexplicably escaped being censured after revealing secret information concerning the JihadiJohn hunt

  • Robert Hannigan gave away secret information about hunt for Jihadi John
  • A Parliamentary report claims he revealed some insight to Channel 4’s documentary
  • The new report shows that MPs were dismayed at Mr Hannigan’s comments.

Unfairly, a former head of GCHQ was spared censure for revealing secret information regarding the Jihadi John hunt. A parliamentary report stated this.

According to the Commons intelligence committee (ISC), Robert Hannigan revealed tactically important details in an attempt to find the British-raised Islamic State executioner.

In the report, released yesterday, MPs expressed their dismay about Mr Hannigan’s remarks – seemingly in breach of the Official Secrets Act – and the apparent failure to hold him to account.

Mr Hannigan’s tenure as director of the government spy agency coincided with its bid – along with the CIA and other international intelligence agencies – to ‘find, fix and finish’ Jihadi John.

Former head of GCHQ Robert Hannigan (pictured) wrongly escaped censure after revealing secret information about the hunt for Jihadi John, a parliamentary report has said

Robert Hannigan, former head of GCHQ (pictured), was wrongly exonerated after revealing secret details about Jihadi John’s hunt. A parliamentary report said Hannigan had escaped censure

Mr Hannigan, who has built a lucrative second career as a security expert, headed GCHQ from 2014 until 2017. Pictured: The GCHQ building

 Mr Hannigan, who has built a lucrative second career as a security expert, headed GCHQ from 2014 until 2017. Pictured is the GCHQ building

Security experts revealed to documentary makers the extent that Mohammed Emwazi (real name Mohammed Emwazi) went to protect his location. He revealed how the various agencies found him.

According to the report, Hannigan provided his account to the GCHQ without seeking approval. Afterwards he received a letter from his GCHQ successor requesting he refrain from repeating what he divulged – but he was not subject to a criminal investigation.

Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, who grew up in west London, became the world’s most wanted man in 2014 when he was filmed beheading IS hostages in Syria, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning. 

At 27, he fled the country and was killed in a drone attack on Raqqa (Syria) in November 2015. 

The security expert told documentary makers about the lengths 'Jihadi John', real name Mohammed Emwazi, went to shield his whereabouts. He also revealed the tactics used by the agencies to find him

Security experts revealed to documentary makers the extent that Jihadi John, real name Mohammed Emwazi went to protect his location. The agents used to locate him, he also disclosed.

Mr Hannigan said in the documentary: ‘He [Emwazi]He was a great teacher. He spoke very little and, when he did communicate, it was mostly with hostages. To hide his identity, he made use of a variety of commercially available products. It was very difficult for agencies to deal with him because of these encryption products. He was layering these products on top of each other.’

Mr Hannigan also revealed that Emwazi was identified by ‘his size, his hands and above all his voice’, which were so distinctive it was ‘quite easy’ to find out who he was. Finding him was the difficult part.

The ISC report said: ‘It is very surprising to this committee that a previous head of one of those organisations [ie part of the Secret Intelligence Services]It is possible to appear on television, reveal secrets and not take any substantive action.

‘It sends entirely the wrong message to those who may be tempted to breach those obligations themselves, and to those who risk their lives to protect them.’

From 2014 to 2017, Mr Hannigan was the head of GCHQ.

Last night, he was unavailable to comment.