Conspiracy, cock-up, cover-up. There have been numerous cases where the government seems to have shot itself in the foot by attempting to gloss over or misinform the public over delicate matters, only for those matters to disagreeably come to light some time later. This text examines the anatomy of misinformation, mostly originating from the MOD, explores the extent and technique of the official deceptions, and asks why these cover-ups took place. Often, at the initial stages, the primary motive is the avoidance of embarrassment for those ministers who have "got it wrong". But frequently things become more complicated. Characteristically, once a cover-up begins, it grows and becomes evermore difficult to get out of - unless the original dissembling is admitted. Usually, however, it is questions asked in awkward places that force those involved to own up to deceit.
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TIM SLESSOR's father was the senior Fleet Air Arm officer on the HMS Glorious, and his frustration over the lack of progress made in the case fired his own research. A television documentary maker for many years, he is also the author of First Overland.