UK Ministry of Defence rejects FOIA request for leaked 2001 security manual

2 December 2013 — Wikileaks Press

On October 9th, 2009 Wikileaks published the UK MoD Manual of Security Volumes 1, 2 and 3 – Issue 2, a 2389-page UK military protocol for all security and counter-intelligence operations, classified “RESTRICTED.” The document outlines instructions on how to deal with leaks, investigative journalists, Parliamentarians, foreign agents, terrorists & criminals, sexual entrapments in Russia and China, diplomatic pouches, allies, classified documents & codewords, compromising radio and audio emissions, computer hackers—and many other intelligence-related issues.

The document, known in the Ministry of Defense as “JSP 440? (Joint Services Publication 440), was referenced by the RAF Digby Investigation team as the protocol justification for the monitoring of WikiLeaks, as Wikileaks itself mentioned on it’s website on 29 September, 2009.

The full document  File | Torrent | Magnet  is large (46Mb, 2389 pages). A smaller (3.6Mb) text-only version can be found here  File |Torrent | Magnet .

Although the document was published by WikiLeaks four years ago, it is still considered classified material by the UK government. It would seem that the UK government does not want any officially public information out about how it has placed investigative journalists and members of the public in the same category as “terrorists organisations.” Excerpts from the JSP 440 document reads:

“..The threat from subversive and terrorist organizations, criminal activity, investigative journalists, and members of the public cannot be discounted…”

“The threat from subversive or terrorist organisations, investigative journalists and others must also be considered.”

“..Identify possible threats to your site, such as from: Foreign Intelligence Services. Terrorist groups. Disaffected staff. Criminals. Investigative journalists.”

Wikileaks-Press decided to request the same document on 2 November, 2013, using the UK Freedom of Information Act.

But the request was ultimately rejected on 29 November, 2013, with the reasons for exemption from declassification Ministry of Defense given as below:

This letter is to inform you that the MOD considers that the information [that you requested] falls within the scope of the following qualified exemption(s): 
 
   Section 24(1) (National Security) This is because releasing the measures we are taking to protect key sites and infrastructure could be exploited by those with hostile intent, with consequent impact on national security.  A public interest test will be conducted on these grounds.    
 
   Section 26(1)(b) (Defence) has been applied because some of the has the potential to prejudice:

• Plans and measures for the maintenance of essential supplies and services
• Development, production, technical specification and performance of equipment which if held by any persons with hostile intent could be detrimental to the security and safety of assets and personnel in the UK and abroad. A public interest test will be conducted on these
grounds.   

Section 27(1)(a) (International Relations) has been applied because some of the information has the potential to adversely affect our security and safety abroad. A public interest test will be conducted on these grounds.   
 
Section 31(1)(a) (Law Enforcement) has been applied as it outlines our key measures to protect sites both physically and electronically. This information could then be used by those with hostile intent.  A public interest test will be conducted on these grounds.    

In the UK’s Terrorism Act of 2000, the definition of a terrorist act is already so vague that it has been applied in detaining David Miranda in connection with his relationship with Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras, who report on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks. According to the Act, a terrorist action may include actions or threat of action where:

the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

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