David Pulvertaft

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Person.png David PulvertaftRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(mariner, officer, spook?)
David pulvertaft.jpg
1990s leader of the British D-Notice (censorship) Committee

Rear Admiral David Pulvertaft CB, FSNR is a British naval officer. In 1999, he was Defence Advisory Notice Secretary, leader of the D-Notice Committee, which gives 'advice' to British newspapers, television and radio on what is allowed to be published in matters declared to be national security[1].

The arrest of Tony Geraghty

In 1998, Tony Geraghty, author and former Sunday Times defence correspondent, fell foul of the D-Notice secretary, for his book The Irish War. In the book Geraghty among other things revealed that two-thirds of the population in Northern Ireland were under sophisticated surveillance.[2]

Altough Pulvertaft denies having anything to do with Geraghty's arrest, Pulvertaft had earlier suggested Geraghty submit the manuscript for vetting. Geraghty had declined such requests. His reason was partly to do with bad experiences of other writers who had subjected their work to the committee and partly because he was loath to do anything that might identify and jeopardise his sources.

The book went on sale to the public in the normal way. No attempt was made to impound it or to take action against its publisher. But in an early morning raid, the Ministry of Defence police agency sent five officers to Geraghty's home where they arrested him, impounded his computer files, notebooks, lists of contacts, and other items, including material for a new book, before charging him and a military officer with offences against national security.


Related Quotation

Streisand effect“[T]he British Government moved to silence the national media. Using the D-Notice system that Australia similarly enforced, Rear Admiral David Pulvertaft warned editors that "a US-based website has today published on the Internet a list which identifies a large number of SIS (MI6) officers. Departmental officers are examining how the damage of this disclosure can be minimised. While this is in progress, I would ask that editors do not interpret the information in the website as being widely disclosed and do not, therefore, publish the address or the content of the website". Duncan Campbell wrote a week later that "The folly of the decision sank home in London this weekend as officials watched the list from Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) spread across the world.”Duncan Campbell16 May 1999