If ever there was an example of ‘security’ factors being used as a pretext for political vetting, it is at the BBC. When their security procedures were revealed in 1985, the corporation said that vetting was restricted to a relatively small number of people who had access to ‘sensitive information’. But in reality a large number of BBC employees – ranging from Graduate Trainees and journalists to arts producers and drama directors – were vetted by MI5 via the Personnel Department.
"Mark Thatcher was trying to cash in on the Al-Yamamah deal . . . In the arms business we met many people, royal hangers on. We called them ‘Black Princes’ and sometimes they had to be bought off . . . Thatcher was acting in the same way, as a kind of British Black Prince, but it was surely not the proper role for a British prime minister’s son"
The MI6 career of Boris Johnson's father, Stanley, was short-lived but his memoirs did reveal one insight into the secret world that has long been believed - that MI6 officers were given legal immunity to commit crimes.
‘You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of your international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.’