Joined: 05 September 2004
"The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
Open Evidence Session
At 14:00 on Thursday 7 November, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will be holding an Open Evidence Session with the three heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies:
Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.
This will be the Committee's first Open Evidence Session: it will be the first time the three heads of the Intelligence Agencies have appeared in public together to talk about their work.
The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will question the Agency Heads on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage. However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters. The Committee questions the Agencies about these details in their closed sessions.
The session will be held on the Parliamentary estate and will last approximately an hour and a half. It will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv.
The session will be broadcast on a short time delay. The time delay is a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.
There will be a limited number of seats available in the meeting room itself. For security reasons, the Committee has agreed that for this first Open Session these seats will be available to full Parliamentary pass holders and a small number of print journalists only. A notification of the event has been posted on the parliamentary intranet and pass holders have been invited to apply for a seat, which will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.
Media arrangements are being dealt with separately."
Some Questions that probably won't be asked...and even if asked would probably not be answered.
1. Do you think there is an adequate separation between those who collect intelligence data in the passive sense and those who use the data in active sense to investigate criminal activity and influence events in other respects? A formal separation large enough to allow parliament to have proper oversight over all requests for data and data searches, that will or might be used in active opperations.
2. Do you ever spy on British parliamentarians including those on "The Intelligence and Security Committee"? Would you let members of "The Intelligence and Security Committee" know if you were spying on them?
3. Do you ever spy on prospective parliamentary candidates in any province of the United Kingdom?
4. If you discovered personal or private information that gave you leverage over a British parliamentarian or prospective parliamentary candidate, who could be given access to actively use this information, and under what circumstances would you sanction its use to influence political events? What are the safe guards to stop spies unofficially leaking such information to alter the course of political events?
5. Do you feel your main loyalty and duty is to uphold the values and soverignity of the current democratically elected parliament or to the prime minister of the day and other executive ministers? For example if ordered by a prime minister or other executive minister to subvert the will of parliament, under what circumstances would you do it?
Would you report this type of decision to parliament for scrutiny after the event or would you cover it up?
6. If asked by the prime minister, other executive ministers or other government officials to supply data, under what circumstances would you deny them access? If you thought the data requests inappropriate under what circumstances would you report this to parliament?
7. If you discovered that a government official, or group of officials, was trying to subvert democracy in some manner, or was taking bribes for data or to influence executive decisions, or was involved in other criminal behaviour; under what circumstances would you supply evidence to the police in regards to what was happening?
8. What safe guards in place to stop a rogue leader of the security services using their power to help others organise a coup d'etat in order to try to subvert the democratic will and power of parliament?