I intend to deal with this 1986 declassified FBI file on Noraid, part of the ongoing examination of the Nate Lavey archive, in two parts.
That is because the first part of the file contains a British government briefing document cum history of Noraid, compiled jointly in 1986 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Northern Ireland Office. Given its historical importance and value as a reference document it is worthy of a separate posting.
I will examine the second part of the 1986 FBI file in a later piece.
It is not clear for whom this briefing paper was intended. A note at the bottom of the second page says that it was prepared for ‘general briefing purposes’, but common sense suggests that it was produced primarily for the American market, i.e. for US intelligence and security agencies and politicians. It is not known whether it was also circulated to the US media.
Classified ‘Secret’ at the time it came into the hands of the FBI, but declassified in 2011, the ten-page document was circulated by the Bureau’s Washington headquarters to branch offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven, Albany and Newark.
I have copied the entire paper and reproduce it below.
Since the FBI sent the document out to satellite offices this will be seen as evidence that the US took its line on the conflict in Northern Ireland from the British, which is hardly surprising.
Noraid, the British wrote, ‘….is the major regular source of funds for the IRA from abroad’, adding: ‘The truth is that the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein move money freely between their different activities, and money obtained ostensibly for prisoners’ dependents is likely to be used to fund terrorist atrocities.’
But it is perhaps noteworthy that it was during the leaderships of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, cold warrior allies sans pareil, that this particular British indictment of Noraid was promulgated in American security and political circles.
Here is the full document: