Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
or C.O.B.R.A. is Britain's main information briefing room for the Prime Minister
in times of national crisis
Cobra is based 10 floors underneath Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall and linked by underground passages to 10 Downing Street. Physically it is a suite of secure rooms containing a bank of telephone lines, fax machines, computer terminals, video conference facilities, and other state of the art communication equipment. Enabling the Prime Minister to obtain the vital information of the day and secure lines of communication to the police, army, hospitals, and all other relevant branches of government.
COBRA has been opened for previous crisis such as the Kosovo campaign of 1999, the Fuel Protest of September 2000, the Foot and Mouth Crisis of spring 2001. With such unique set of circumstances - from dealing with the millions of rotting carcasses to get the fuel and lifeblood of the country pumping again – COBRA has proved it’s immense flexibility.
After the September 11 attacks Prime Minister Tony Blair did not initiate Cobra, but set up a War Cabinet instead which is a much more traditional institution for dealing with possible major attacks upon the United Kingdom itself in “wartime”. However the same above facilities are most certainly being used under it’s jurisdiction instead.