The United Kingdom’s intelligence oversight body, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), seems to be picking a fight with the UK government. On 3 July, Admiral Alan aka Lord West of Spithead wrote on behalf of the Committee to the Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office. The letter was the diplomatic equivalent of a size ten boot to the face. The background to this is that the ISC’s powers are regulated by something called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Committee believes that the MOU needs to be updated but the Government is coming up with a series of flimsy excuses so that they don’t have to do that. The reason for this sudden reluctance is that the Government does not ant the UK intelligence services to be answerable to the Committee, they want the intelligence services to be answerable to the Government’s ministers. (The services are probably behind this – they would certianly get an easier ride from the ministers than they would from the Committee). This is brewing up into quite a row. It will be interesting to see who gives way.
You can read the bombshell letter HERE.