The Royal Navy submariner who published a dossier of alleged security failings of the Trident nuclear programme has been “apprehended” by Royal Navy Police.
William McNeilly had been absent without leave from the Faslane naval base since the 18-page document appeared on WikiLeaks.
The MoD today confirmed that McNeilly was detained on Monday night and was being held at a military establishment in Scotland.
Whatever happens now is up to you and the government. William McNeilly
Mr McNeilly said: “I’ve tried my best over the past year, and I’ve finally achieved what I set out to do. I set out to gather as much information as possible, as fast as possible, inform you and the government before getting caught, then hand myself into the police. There’s nothing I can do from prison; whatever happens now is up to you and the government.”
A Facebook account believed to belong to Mr McNeilly’s brother confirmed that he was “safe and well”, and that he “handed himself in last night”.
William McNeilly’s report detailed 30 alleged safety failings on Royal Navy submarines, writing: “Our nuclear weapons are a target that’s wide open to attack.” He adds: “It is just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or terrorist.”
In his document, which was published online and also sent to newspapers and journalists, Mr McNeilly said he is an engineering technician submariner who was on patrol with the Trident submarine HMS Victorious this year. He provided photos of his passport and ID to prove his identity.
The Royal Navy disagrees with McNeilly’s subjective and unsubstantiated personal views. Royal Navy statement
The report claimed that missile safety procedures were often ignored and that top-secret information was guarded inadequately. McNeilly also listed a catalogue of fire risks and on-board leaks.
Today, the Royal Navy said: “The Royal Navy disagrees with McNeilly’s subjective and unsubstantiated personal views but we take the operation of our submarines and the safety of our personnel extremely seriously and so continue to fully investigate the circumstances of this issue.”