Heads of the British intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ were quizzed at a public hearing earlier this month, where they answered questions on the UK’s spying activities. However it’s now being suggested that all three organisations struck a deal to let them see the questions they would be asked before hand, allowing them not to be surprised during the hearing.
The three men in question were Sir Ian Lobban, top dog at GCHQ, Andrew Parker from MI5 and John Sawers from MI6. Throughout the hour and a half session they were asked questions on a variety of different aspects of their joint and individual intelligence operations, but nothing seemed to phase them. The Sunday Times (via GloucestershireEcho) has cited sources that suggest one MP branded the entire event a “pantomime,” due to its lack of sincerity.
Security analyst and writer Charles Shoebridge was also questioned by PressTV, and said that he thought the entire event was well practised and rehearsed, perhaps even to the point of resembling a performance:[yframe url=’https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-XVI9YNP7Q’]
Other MPs however have countered that while the intelligence heads had been briefed on what the broad areas of questioning would be, that they weren’t given exact questions. Another, Malcolm Rifkind, seemingly defended the action, suggesting that: “We cannot put a question to an intelligence chief that they might only be able to answer by reference to secret material.”
Whilst not explicitly stated, this would suggest some sort of compliance with intelligence agency approved questioning, over potentially more invasive queries.
KitGuru Says: Did anyone watch the live broadcast of this? If so, what did you think of the way the three chief’s behaved during the hearing?