IPSO rejects complaint against Telegraph over story which said 'open borders allow Isil sleeper cells into UK'

A complaint by anti-Brexit website InFacts against the Daily Telegraph has been rejected by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

The fact-checking group complained over an article headlined: “Open borders allow Isil sleeper cells into Europe and UK capable of carrying out Paris-style attacks, warns US spy chief”, published on 27 April 2016.

It reported that James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, had warned that “open borders across Europe have allowed Isil to plant sleeper cells in the UK”.

The article went on to quote Clapper saying that: “There’s a fundamental conflict – on the one hand there is the European Union’s incentives and drives to promote openness and free movement of people and goods and privacy, which is in some ways in conflict with the responsibility each country has as a nation state to protect the security of its border and its people.”

It also reported that when Clapper was asked whether IS had sleeper cells similar to the ones which carried out terror attacks in Brussels and Paris in countries like England, Germany and Italy, he responded by saying, “yes, they do””.

The article also reported that Clapper had said that IS had “taken advantage, to some extent, of the migrant crisis in Europe”.

InFacts said Clapper did not draw any link between open borders and there being IS sleeper cells in the UK. It said Clapper said that IS sleeper cells had been set up in the UK, Italy and Germany, and in response to a separate question, had said that IS had taken advantage of the migrant crisis and the EU’s open borders.

It also said that the UK was not part of the Schengen area, and that it was therefore not possible for “open borders” to allow IS to enter Britain.

IPSO said: “It was not in dispute that Mr Clapper had said that IS had sleeper cells in the UK. “Nor was it in dispute that when he was asked to expand on this, Mr Clapper said that there was a conflict in Europe between the free movement of people and goods, and the responsibilities each nation state has to protect the security of its borders and people. Through these comments, Mr Clapper had identified that open borders formed part of the context which had allowed IS to operate in Europe.

“In circumstances where he had confirmed that IS had placed sleeper cells in the UK, and in circumstances where the article directly quoted the relevant passages from Mr Clapper’s answers, the article’s claim that he had warned that open borders allowed IS sleeper cells into the UK was not a significantly misleading summary of his comments, such as to raise a breach of Clause 1.”

InFacts has made a number of IPSO complaits over national press coverage in the run up to the 23 June EU referendum.

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