01 April 2009

How's That Again?

Last month, Sir David Omand GCB, former Home Office Permanent Secretary, former security adviser to Tony Blair, and now visiting professor in the department of war studies in King's College, London, presented a report to Gordon Brown entitled "National Security Strategy: Implications for the UK Intelligence Community" (available here).

This passage struck me particularly (emphasis supplied):

The realm of intelligence operations is of course a zone to which the ethical rules that we might hope to govern private conduct as individuals in society cannot fully apply. Finding out other people’s secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules. So public trust in the essential reasonableness of UK police, security and intelligence agency activity will continue to be essential. A significant challenge supporting the National Security Strategy will be how the intelligence community can access the full range of data relating to individuals, their movements, activities and associations in a timely, accurate, proportionate and legal way, and one acceptable in a democratic and free society, including appropriate oversight and means of independent investigation and redress in cases of alleged abuse of power.

[Hat tip: John Adams.]

No comments: