8 November 2013 — Liberty
Yesterday, for the first time, Britain’s three senior spy chiefs, the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, came before a public parliamentary committee. It was a unique opportunity shed some light onto the recent dubious goings-on in the British secret service.
However, as feared, yesterday’s “grilling” consisted of friendly and open-ended questions – resulting in few specific answers and barely anything not already on the public record. These public servants presided over blanket surveillance of the entire population without public, parliamentary or democratic mandate. Yet they faced questioning that wouldn’t have scared a puppy.
Only a small part of the session was dedicated to the Snowden revelations. And much of this granted a platform to repeat claims that disclosures had harmed national security. No evidence or examples could be offered.
The trio insisted that they don’t push for new powers, and platitudes about incorporating human rights into all they do rang rather hollow in the light of the recent disclosures.
Liberty is taking legal action against the British Intelligence Services over their involvement in the scandal. And we are campaigning hard in parliament and through the media for urgent amendment to the outdated laws governing surveillance and an end to blanket surveillance of the population. Politicians who claim ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ lack imagination and seriously underestimate public anger at being spied on.
With your support we continue to put pressure on Ministers and an intelligence community which seems increasingly out of control. If you can, please donate to keep our campaigning work going.