Buckingham 'Security Scandal' Exposed During Bush Visit
The front page of the Daily Mirror showing the undercover reporter standing in on a palace's balcony
LONDON, November 19 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - In what is seen as a "security scandal" for Britain, a British reporter who worked undercover for two months at Buckingham Palace revealed on Wednesday, November 19, that the security was so lax that he could easily have assassinated U.S. President George W. Bush during his state visit to the kingdom.
"Had I been a terrorist intent on assassinating the Queen (Elizabeth) or American president George Bush, I could have done so with absolute ease," Journalist Ryan Parry wrote in the Daily Mirror.
"This morning I would have been serving breakfast to key members of his government, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell."
Parry said he used bogus references to get a job at the palace while police and royal staff were preparing for Bush's visit, which began Tuesday night under unprecedented security.
"Our investigation makes a mockery of the 10 million pound (16 million dollar) security operation set up to protect the president," he said.
As Bush awoke after his first night in the palace, the newspaper appeared on the streets with a front-page photo of its undercover reporter standing on a palace's balcony.
The photo was overprinted with the word "Intruder" in red capital letters.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "We are conducting a full investigation into how the Mirror reporter came to be employed at Buckingham Palace."
"All the agencies involved are vigorously looking at the issues," added Andy Trotter, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which has primary responsibility for guarding the royal family.
The Mirror said in a front page headline it had exposed the "biggest royal security scandal ever," and devoted 15 pages to the story.
It was illustrated with photographs of the bedroom being used by Bush and his wife Laura which Parry said he took while wandering "at will" only days ago through the rooms prepared for the presidential couple.
Parry claimed that for eight weeks he enjoyed "unfettered access throughout Buckingham Palace" and that neither he nor his bag was ever searched by security guards.
"Not once, from the moment I applied for my job as a footman to my walking out of the palace last night, did anyone ever perform anything close to a rigorous security check on my background," he said.
"On my first day I was given a full all-areas security pass and the traditional uniform of the Queens trusted aides that allowed me unquestioned access to every member of the royal family."
Parry said he was shown "the secret hiding places for keys" to royal apartments and claimed:
"From my small bedroom on the palaces second floor, directly above the famous Picture Gallery and just yards from the Queens bedroom, plotting a devastating terrorist attack would have been simple."
Parry also said he "frequently had direct contact with the Queens food" and could have easily poisoned the monarch.
"Such is the shocking incompetence at the heart of the biggest security operation ever in Britain," Parry wrote.
He did not spare Bush's own security guards, saying: "The American CIA were even said to have carried out their own checks on all palace staff. But they weren't as thorough as they thought."
Parry walked out of his job after Bush arrived at the palace Tuesday night. The president is a guest of the queen until Friday.
Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan said his newspaper -- one of Britain's best selling tabloids -- had "done the country a service".
Speaking to a BBC interviewer, Morgan said: "The breach is one of the most scandalous things that I have been involved with and I think that although we will get the usual outcry about intrusive journalism and so on the public will make their own minds up when they read this."
Faced with anti-war protests and a heightened state of alert against a feared attack, British police are deploying no less than 5,000 officers at any one time during Bush's stay.
Charles is known for his strong pro-Palestinian views
Meanwhile, British officials fear that Prince Charles' strong pro-Palestinian views and criticism of the U.S. policy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict could embarrass Bush during his state visit with one source close to the royal family saying that Charles "is fairly Arabist," the Guardian reported Wednesday.
"He has, in American terms and international terms, fairly dodgy views on Israel," the daily quoted the source as saying.
"He thinks American policy on the Middle East is complete madness and he used to express that quite loudly to a lot of people, including ministers and various ambassadors."
The source added: "The system basically thinks that he is unsound on America and he has not really wanted to go anyway. He doesn't much like American culture."
The daily said that Charles, the heir to the British throne, has not been on a trip to the U.S. for the last six years because he is privately critical of U.S. Middle East policy.
The prince made four trips to the United States between 1993 and 1997 but has not been back since.
Bush is the guest of Queen Elizabeth at her residence Buckingham Palace during the first state visit to Britain by an American leader.
The president was to enjoy a ceremonial welcome at the palace and savor a lavish state banquet there Wednesday.
His trip coincided with a fresh poll in the United States suggesting that his popularity is at an all-time low among American voters, just a year before the next presidential elections.
Forty-seven percent of respondents to the USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll disapproved with the way Bush was handling his job, according to the survey among 1,004 adults conducted last week.
On Tuesday, November 18, London Mayor Ken Livingstone accused Bush of being "the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen".