Nigel Inkster

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Nigel Inkster is Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), "the leading authority on global security".[1]

His IISS biography states:

Nigel Inkster served in the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from 1975 to 2006. He was posted in Asia, Latin America and Europe and worked extensively on transnational issues. He spent seven years on the Board of SIS, the last two as Assistant Chief and Director for Operations and Intelligence. He is a Chinese speaker and graduated in Oriental Studies from St John’s College Oxford.[2]

Iraq Intelligence

Inkster was cited as a key source for Ron Suskind's book, The Way of the World:

Suskind said that at the beginning of 2003 MI6 sent one of its top agents, Michael Shipster, to the region. Mr Shipster held secret meetings in Jordan with Tahir Jalil Habbush, the head of Iraqi Intelligence. The meetings were confirmed by Nigel Inkster, former assistant director of MI6.
Mr Inkster also confirmed that Mr Shipster was told by Mr Habbush that there were no illicit weapons in Iraq. Mr Inkster refused to comment last night.[3]

Inkster subsequently told the journalist Richard Norton-Taylor that Suskind's account of his comments was 'inaccurate and misleading'.

"Mr Suskind appears to have conflated separate conversations; one about the problems of reading Saddam Hussein's intentions, an issue which is dealt with in the Butler report, and one about Habbush. I made it clear to Mr Suskind that I was in no position to comment on the substance or significance of any dealings with the latter since I had not been privy to the detail of what had taken place, something Mr Suskind has chosen not to mention. And, in any event, I had made it clear to Mr Suskind, when first he approached me, that I would not divulge classified information to which I had had access during my time in government.
Mr Suskind's characterisation of our meeting is more the stuff of creative fiction than serious reportage, and seeks to make more of it than the circumstances or the content warranted."[4]

Seeks top job

Inkster applied to succeed Richard Dearlove as Chief of MI6. Unlike Mark Allen, who also sought the top job, he nevertheless decided to stay on when John Scarlett was appointed, to "help the agency settle down."[5]

Criticises War on Terror

In April 2010, Inkster co-authored a Guardian article with Alexander Nicoll which criticised the War on Terror as an "unwinnable "war" against an undefined enemy".[6][7]



External resources




  1. Staff expertise: List experts by name, IISS website, acc 27 Apr 2010
  2. Nigel Inkster CMG, International Institute for Strategic Studies, accessed 6 August 2008.
  3. White House 'buried British intelligence on Iraq WMDs', by Tim Reid and Sam Coates, The Times, 6 August 2008.
  4. Angry denials are not enough, by Richard Norton-Taylor,, 6 August 2008.
  5. Richard Norton-Taylor, Another top MI6 officer quits, The Guardian 6 December 2004.
  6. Nigel Inkster and Alexander Nicoll, Terrorism: keep calm and carry on, Guardian, 26 April 2010.
  7. Richard Norton-Taylor, Ex-MI6 officer attacks America's torture policy, The Guardian, 27 April 2010.