MI6 should hold immediate talks with the CIA and other United States security services about the prospect of Scottish independence, an expert in international relations experts has said.
It remains unclear how intelligence-sharing as part of the “UKUSA Agreement” would be affected if Scotland goes it alone, according to Dr Daniel Kenealy, of Edinburgh University. The UKUSA Agreement was first signed in 1946 and has since been expanded to include Australia, Canada and New Zealand and is seen as a key tool to combat the growing terrorist threat.
London and Edinburgh would also have to establish a “close relationship” in intelligence-sharing, Dr Kenealy adds in a submission to Westminster’s foreign affairs committee.
The “special relationship” between the UK and US is often “oversold”, according to the academic, but he states: “This in not the case in the realm of intelligence co-operation.”
He adds: “The foreign affairs committee should urge the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the UK intelligence services to begin discussions with their US partners about how Washington DC would react to Scottish independence.”
The US is likely to want to
ensure that the security of all the British Isles remains as “robust
“What remains unclear is the extent to which intelligence-sharing arrangements between the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand would have to be revisited as a result of
Scottish independence,” Dr
“This is not an area where discussions should be left until 2014,” he says. “Forward planning is essential.”
But Professor Malcolm Chalmers, of defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said that hard
negotiations were more likely
to take place post-independence.
“In so far as the US is at all worried about this – which it does not seem to be yet – it will want reassurances that can only be given by Scotland, not by the UK, and then only after a yes vote,” Prof Chalmers said.
“Second, even if this issue begins to be discussed across the Atlantic, the security services will not want to do so in
“So, third, this would be an important part of post-Yes vote negotiations, but it is hard to see governments seeing any
advantage in discussing it openly before then.”
There are some areas, such as the threat of cyber-crime, counter-terrorism and serious organised crime, where close relations between London and a newly independent government in Edinburgh would need to be quickly established, according to Dr Kenealy.
“Information-sharing and even burden-sharing arrangements between the two states would be a sensible way of proceeding,” he added.
The UK government is also being urged to hold talks with police officers, civil servants and ministers in the Irish Republic.