British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon launched a full attack on the “Trident whistleblower” Able Seaman William McNeilly’s unofficial report today. It’s the strongest rebuttal of the report since it was published online by the sailor who claimed that Britain’s Trident submarines were an accident “waiting to happen.”
Speaking today, Mr. Fallon stated that none of the claims regarding the safety and security of Britain’s nuclear deterrent made by Belfast-born Able Seaman McNeilly have been proven accurate. McNeilly, who had served on a single training cruise of the Trident submarine HMS Victorious, feared the repercussions of his report so much that he went absent without leave from the navy for several days until he was apprehended at Edinburgh airport and held by military police. By that time he had developed quite a following on British social media with an online petition demanding that no criminal charges be brought against him for publishing the report or going AWOL.
Mr. Fallon stated today however that many of the concerns raised by McNeilly’s report were “factually incorrect.” He then added;
[McNeilly’s claims were] the result of mis- or partial understanding; some drew on historic, previously known, events none of which had compromised our deterrent capability and, where appropriate, from which lessons had been learned to develop our procedures as part of a continuous improvement programme…We have found no evidence that he raised any concerns with colleagues on board or with the chain of command: had he done so, the more senior and experienced submariners would have been able to explain how the boat operated and why McNeilly’s concerns were unfounded.