Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Permeability of the security services

I haven't read the Pat Finucane report yet, but the prime minister's summary of it in his statement in Westminster today was frightening. Sir Desmond de Silva stops short of blaming Northern Ireland Office ministers, but otherwise unfolds a grim tale of elements of the security services and of the Royal Ulster Constabulary colluding with loyalist gangs in violent action against republican sympathisers, culminating in the murder, in front of his wife and children, of a respected solicitor.

I accept that the RUC has been replaced, and that the security services are now established on a legal basis with oversight, but it seems to me that what went wrong in Northern Ireland could go wrong again. The administration should not put more information about all our personal contacts into the hands of more spooks.  Liberal Democrat MPs are right to oppose the offending provisions of the Data Communications Bill.

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