Thank you for your email regarding the revelations of GCHQ and NSA data gathering.I agree that these are, of course, extremely serious allegations and I know from the many e-mails and letters I have received that there is considerable public concern about this issue.I agree it is vital that these allegations are thoroughly investigated and that we ensure there is effective oversight and a clear legal framework to our intelligence operations. As I am sure you are aware, there was an important debate on the intelligence and security services in Parliament on 31st October last year.Our intelligence and security services undertake vital, often unrecognised, work to protect our security and to counter the threats we face. Given the global nature of their work it is also crucial that our intelligence agencies are able to share information across international borders with our allies, including the USA.
There also needs, however, to be public confidence that our intelligence agencies are themselves law-abiding and accountable and that any intelligence information received from the USA or any other country has been obtained legally. These recent allegations also underline once again the need for effective Parliamentary and Ministerial oversight of all three of our intelligence organisations.
I believe that the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which has the remit to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the country’s intelligence agencies is the right body to investigate these allegations, but I do think it is important that we look at all the options to ensure that there is proper parliamentary oversight of the intelligence services.I hope that in the future the ISC will hold as many hearings in public as possible and that the ISC can become a full Parliamentary Select Committee, as I believe this would improve its transparency and accountability to the public.Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.Yours sincerely,Lucy Powell MP
Well at least she replied I guess? I imagine many others are getting nothing back…? Quite a generic email to a complex issue…
Wonder what would happen if I replied to her? Wonder if I would get a reply again?