EXCLUSIVE: Trident whistleblower William McNeilly breaks silence ahead of London demo
MPs will soon vote on whether to renew Britain’s aging Trident nuclear weapons system. Ahead of Saturday’s anti-nukes protest in London, Royal Navy submariner-turned-whistleblower William McNeilly broke his silence and spoke exclusively to RT.
In May 2015, McNeilly, 26, leaked a report exposing 30 safety and security failures documented over his three-month tour on board one of Britain’s Vanguard submarines.
Narrowly escaping jail, McNeilly was dishonorably discharged, returning home to his native Belfast. Today he hopes to influence the Trident debate and halt the government’s drive for renewal.
“I didn’t release my report to discredit the Crown,” McNeilly told RT’s Rob Edwards
“I didn’t release my report to discredit the Royal Navy. I released my report because safety and security [at the Trident base] is not being taken seriously. Because it’s a risk to the people and a risk to the land.”
Among the safety and security failures exposed in McNeilly’s report are a fire in a missile compartment resulting from toilet rolls catching light, instances of missile safety alarms being muted and missile control center fault alarms being ignored.
The report also documents routine failures to follow safety procedures when working with missiles, missile compartments being used as a gym, seawater leaking into a hydraulic plant and sprinklers flooding a torpedo compartment.
Fire risks from a build-up of rubbish, water dripping onto electrical equipment and overcrowding on board were also featured as safety hazards.
At a time when the British government is concerned with potential terror threats against both civilian and military infrastructure, McNeilly’s description of elementary security failures makes for difficult reading.
His report describes top secret information left unguarded, routine failures to check ID cards and search bags brought aboard – and even nuclear safety exams being rigged.
“You don’t even need to be part of the Navy – any logical thinking person, anyone with half a functioning brain cell can understand the risks,” said McNeilly.
“At the airport you have your bags checked. They don’t check your bags [at Faslane]. Any bags, any boxes you’re bringing on board, they don’t check. Their attitude is it will take too long.
“All you need to get on board is a couple of fake IDs. Terrorist groups like ISIS [Islamic State/IS, also known as ISIL] have already shown they can produce legitimate documents. Thousands of Royal Navy IDs go missing every year as well, so they could come across one. Increasing numbers within the UK have radicalized people, which increases the risk of one of them coming across an ID.
“Going on that patrol, I think there was 180 people on board. They’re all bringing on big bags unchecked. All it would take would be for one of them to have a bomb,” he added.