Confusion erupted when an unknown intruder calling themelves “Henry Kissinger” joined an online meeting of council chiefs and business bigwigs.
Members of the Aberdeen City Region Deal joint committee met virtually to discuss updates on the projects being carried out as a result of the £250 million cash injection from the UK and Scottish governments.
But at about 20 minutes into the talks, officer Alison McLeod pointed out that there appeared to be an extra guest.
She said the person, known only as “Henry Kissinger”, had been admitted shortly after the meeting started.
Calls for mystery person to reveal themselves
It is unlikely it was the 98-year-old American politician and diplomat, who served as Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
The officer said: “We admitted a guest by the name of Henry Kissinger and I am wondering if we could ask him to identify himself please.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader, Andy Kille, was chairing the meeting and led calls for the mystery attendee to unmask themselves.
He said: “Mr Kissinger, could you perhaps turn your video on and let us know who you are.”
At that point, members were told that it “looks like he’s left now”.
You can watch the snippet of the meeting in question here –
Sir Ian Wood not amused
A perturbed Ian Wood was concerned about the uninvited visitor.
He said: “I need to say, that is quite worrying that we have a guest attending the meeting and nobody knows who they are.”
Mr Kille added: “Presumably somebody admitted them…”
He vowed that the matter would be looked into after the meeting.
The region deal involves both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, and meetings are hosted on a turnabout basis.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman told us the participant was removed “in accordance with procedure”.
But it remains unclear why they chose to hide their real identity…
What is the council’s explanation?
She said: “Members and officers involved in the work of the committee receive invites to all meetings and only those that require to participate in the business at each meeting should attend.
“The participant in question was not expected to attend on this occasion and was admitted to the public section of the meeting by the clerk.
“They were asked to identify themselves and their purpose for attending, and when they didn’t respond they were removed from the meeting in accordance with the council’s online meetings procedure.”
The Aberdeen City Region Deal encompasses the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, a digital infrastructure fund and the proposed expansion of Aberdeen Harbour.
Others in attendance included Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing and Aberdeen University principal George Boyne.
You can see the full meeting here: