Saturday, 25 July 2015

Spooks are free to spy on MSPs and AMs

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is seeking "urgent" assurance from David Cameron that members of Scotland's parliament are not being spied on following new snooping revelations on Friday (24 July).
Early on Friday, Scotland's Daily Record newspaper revealed documents showing Britain's intelligence services were cleared in March to target Holyrood MSP
The Daily Record  claimed
.SPOOKS have changed top-secret rules so they are free to spy on MSPs, t
Explosive documents show that the UK’s electronic eavesdropping agency last month dumped guidelines which had constrained spies from tapping MSPs’ phones or hacking their emails.
The revelations about GCHQ will spark fury at Holyrood and reignite conspiracy theories about the role of the security services in fighting the growth of pro-independence feeling.
They are also likely to bolster fears the intelligence community were monitoring politicians’ and activists’ communications during the referendum campaign.
Nicola Sturgeon's letter to Cameron read
Dear Prime Minister,
 I am sure you will agree with me that, excepting truly exceptional circumstances involving national security, the confidentiality of communications between parliamentarians and their constituents is of the utmost importance. I am sure you will also agree that it is just as important for MSPs as it is for MPs. This principle of confidentiality is what the ‘Wilson doctrine’ was introduced to protect.You will therefore understand my concern at suggestions in the Daily Record and elsewhere – reportedly supported by documentation shown to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal – that, while GCHQ had been applying the Wilson doctrine to the communications of MSPs, that is no longer the case. The Scottish Government has not been consulted on any such matter. I would therefore be grateful for urgent responses to the following questions: 1. Are these reports correct in stating that there has been a change of policy and that GCHQ has ceased to apply the Wilson doctrine to the communications of MSPs? 2. If so, why was this decision taken, when and by whom was it taken, and was there any ministerial knowledge or approval?3. Has there in fact been any interception of MSP communications? 4. Will you give an immediate assurance that this policy change by GCHQ will be reversed and that the Wilson doctrine will again be applied to MSP communications, and indeed to the communications of other devolved Parliamentarians and Assembly members? 5. Will you give an assurance that, with respect to the Wilson doctrine, MSPs will in future be treated equally to MPs by all of the intelligence agencies? 6. Francis Maude, MP, then Minister for the Cabinet Office, made a commitment in the House of Commons on 12 March 2014 to look at policy in relation to the Wilson Doctrine, along with the Home Secretary and yourself. Can you confirm what progress has been made in that work and whether its scope has included consideration of the position of Scottish parliamentarians?I am copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Presiding Officer.

Nicola Sturgeon 
Cynics will probably think that the Wilson Doctorine was never realty implemented
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal is hearing a case brought  by parliamentarians on the issue of the Wilson Doctrine yesterday..
Ahead of the hearing, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said 
"the blanket surveillance of the communications of Parliamentarians could have a deeply chilling effect on our relationship with the public."
She called MPs and peers "a trusted source for whistle-blowers and those wishing to challenge the actions of the government."

Of course  if the abandonment foor the Wilson Doctrine  applies to Holyrood it also applies to the Welsh Assembly but lets face it any Spook prowling the doings of our AMs will probably go mad with boredom.

Still there seems to be response from the likes First Minister  Carwyn Jones  and Plaid Leader Leanne Wood who may be more outraged that they are  not be spied on rather than ignored.

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