Asharq Al-Awsat, London – An image taken by photo journalist Steve Back led to the resignation of Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer Bob Quick, the Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday after photos were published in the press of him carrying a document marked ‘top secret’.
The document contained details of a nine-month plan containing the names of terror suspects and their locations and numerous details of the operation and the officers involved, which forced the Met to bring forward the planned operation and arrest 12 terror suspects immediately and to carry out raids in broad daylight in residential areas. The operation could not have been carried out at the designated time since its details had been disclosed in the picture taken by British photo journalist Steve Back who works for Political Pictures agency in London.
In a telephone conversation with Asharq Al-Awsat, Steve Back said that he was standing opposite 10 Downing Street with other photographers from international news agencies, including Getty Images, when Bob Quick arrived for a security briefing with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. When Quick exited the car, he was holding a number of files and documents. Back said, “I took the pictures without paying attention to the files and documents. I wasn’t aware of the importance of the picture that I took with my camera until I downloaded the pictures onto my laptop.”
Asked whether he felt like a hero for the picture that he had taken, Back said that he was merely doing his job. He added that he did not feel guilty that his photo led to the resignation of one the Met’s most important officers.
Back stated that his website crashed for a number of hours due to heavy internet traffic Thursday.
Steve Back added finally that he places the blame on political figures that occupy important positions and yet fail to understand the significance of these posts. He confirmed that he had not received any additional payment for the photo as he works for Political Pictures from which he receives a salary.