Interestingly, the Security Service MI5 claim to be party politically neutral, and that they do not get involved in Whitehall Leak Inquiries and "mole hunts" (a phrase popularised by the espionage fiction novellist John le Carré), unless national security is threatened.
We do not carry out inquiries into leaks of information from Government, except where national security may be affected. As part of our protective security role, we do give advice to Government on security policy and practice and our Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (new window) carries out audits of security arrangements within other Departments on request. But we have no "policing" role.
A Whitehall Department may well have enough personnel and technical resources to conduct their own mole hunt to try to track down an anonymous whistleblower who is, for example, providing a newspaper with more than one "scoop" based on internal Whitehall documents.
In recent years the Sunday Times has had access to several high profile leaked Whitehall documents via the contacts of David Leppard, (See the Trustworthy Contacts for Whistleblowers ? section) who is soon moving on to become
In 2004, the Home Office employed the private sector financial investigators Kroll Associates in their Leak Inquiry following th e publication of Cabinet Committee memos showing the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's doubts about the the Home Secretary David Blunkett's notorious ID Cards and National Identity Register plans.
When details of the Honours List were leaked from the Cabinet Office, agin in 2004, another firm of private investigators, set up by retired MI5 people, called Risk Analysis (UK) Ltd was called in:
Investigation & Litigation Support
In addition to undertaking the more usual types of investigation, Risk Analysis also provides investigators who are experienced in tracing the origins of confidential information leaks from corporate entities and public bodies. They act swiftly, sensibly and analytically, and can conduct enquiries openly or discreetly as required.