Ian Cameron (MI5)

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

Ian Cameron was an MI5 officer.


Cameron served as head of the Berlin Branch of the British Services Security Organisation (Germany) circa 1970-71. In September 1970 he wrote to John Jones warning that talks with Soviets could lead to a greater Soviet intelligence presence in West Berlin. In July 1971 he warned the Soviets had asked for an additional 81 officials and estimated at least 50 per cent would be intelligence officers.[1]

Northern Ireland

Cameron served in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s.

According to David Leigh:

MI5 fought - and beat - MI6 for control of Intelligence in Northern Ireland under a succession of 'DCI's' on two-year tours to this new, uninhibited career-posting - Ian Cameron, Jack Credock, John Parker.[2]

According to Richard Deacon, MI6 chief Maurice Oldfield initially welcomed a stronger MI5 presence in Northern Ireland established in late 1973 - early 1974:

So at Stormont Castle the MI6 officer was relieved by Dennis Payne of MI5, and the intelligence controller at Lisburn, Craig Smellie of MI6, was replaced by Ian Cameron of MI5. Unfortunately, though these moves made sense and initially all went smoothly, much later MI5 also committed in blunders in Ulster.[3]

Fred Holroyd, an Army officer who had worked for MI6, recounts that he was called into Cameron's office a few days after Smellie's departure:

During our interview he told me that he did not want me crossing the border for any reason at this particular time as he was supervising an RUC operation in the Republic and did not want to risk any possible interference.[4]

Holroyd also describes having a second conversation, immediately afterwards, with an SAS officer, Major Keith Farnes:

He asked me what I though of Cameron. I said, quite honestly, that I hadn't been very taken with him. Farnes told me that I was not the only one to feel like this: an NCO in the Intelligence Corps who had been running ten different sources in the IRA had seen them all murdered within a few days of MI5 taking over operations. He had gone into a bunker and shot himself in the head. In Farnes's words, 'MI5 leaks like a sieve!'[5]

Raymond Murray comments on this story: 'I find no record of ten informants having been shot by the IRA at this time.'[6]


Citing evidence from a BBC Public Eye programme, Ken Livingstone told the House of Commons in 1990 that Cameron had received information about abuse at Kincora Boys Home from Roy Garland via an Army intelligence officer known as "James":

The MI5 officer who received the information indirectly was Ian Cameron. The Army intelligence officer wrote a report of his meeting with Garland, and sent it to his Army superiors as a matter of routine. He said that it was then passed to MI5—which shared the same building at Army headquarters—and that he was summoned to see the senior MI5 officer. On the "Public Eye" programme, he said of that meeting: I can't honestly say that I was expecting three gold stars but I went up feeling pretty positive, expecting a normal meeting. Instead I got blown out of his office. He's rude to me, he tells me that the kind of information that I have submitted is not proper intelligence, that we have nothing—we, as intelligence officers, don't dabble in homosexual affairs, that these moral matters are nothing to do with us. He vilifies my report, he tells me to cut off the contact. I can remember him saying to me words to the effect 'get rid of him, break the contact, just get rid'. I'm surprised because we had had a pretty good relationship going up until then. He blows me out of the office. That, surely, is a remarkable position for one of the most senior MI5 officers on operational duty in the north of Ireland: having been told of systematic child abuse by a leading militant Protestant paramilitary, MI5 decided to do nothing about it.[7]

"James" was probably Brian Gemmill who later said that he gave Cameron information about child abuse by William McGrath based on reports by three men, Roy Garland, Jim McCormick and James Miller.[8] According to a report by Liam Clarke:

His first move was to report it to Cameron, an MI5 veteran who was working under the cover of a political adviser in the Northern Ireland Office.
"Ian Cameron was very much a father figure to me at the time," Mr Gemmell said.
"I was in my mid-20s and he was in his early 60s. He was normally a very nice chap, but he reacted very strongly.
"He told me that MI5 did not concern itself with what homosexuals did and he ordered me to stop using an agent I had within Tara, who we had codenamed Royal Flush."[8]


  1. Extracts from National Archives file FCO 33/1546.
  2. David Leigh, The Wilson Plot, Mandarin, 1989, p.209.
  3. Richard Deacon, 'C': A Biography of Sir Maurice Oldfield, Futura, 1985, p.174.
  4. Fred Holroyd, War Without Honour, Medium Publishing, 1989, p.100.
  5. Fred Holroyd, War Without Honour, Medium Publishing, 1989, p.100.
  6. Raymond Murray, The SAS in Ireland, Mercier Press, 1990, p121.
  7. Ken Livingstone, Northern Ireland (Direct Rule), House of Commons Debates, 5 July 1990, vol 175 cc1138-224.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Liam Clarke, Kincora: How three men alerted MI5 officers to home's dark secret... and still nothing was done to stop the child sex abuse, Belfast Telegraph, 6 August 2014.