Another Parliamentary Written Question and Non-Answer regarding the "Wilson Doctrine", which may be interest to fellow kremlinologists who are trying to understand what the secretive United Kingdom bureaucracy and politicians are up to (see our "Wilson Doctrine" category archive for more history and background)
Written answers Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Ben Wallace (Lancaster & Wyre, Conservative)
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Wilson Doctrine extends to a ban on UK Government departments and agencies instructing/requesting or handling intercept material from a foreign power that relates to (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the House of Lords.
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister)
The Wilson Doctrine applies to all forms of interception that are subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant.
These masterfully imprecise weasel words in Gordon Brown's "answer" could be be interpreted in many ways:
Does this mean that because there are provisions for for interception warrants authorised by a Secretary of State (usually but not always the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary or the Northern Ireland Secretary have been active in this field as well) under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, for postal interceptions and for electronic communications interceptions (telephones and email) , and , historically and perhaps even now, authorised under other legacy legislation outside of RIPA e.g. the Social Security Act (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) or the Financial Services Act (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Treasury) , that the "Wilson SOctrine" applies to these technologies in their entirety ?
Alternatively , since warrants are not the only methods of Authorisation , there are certificates and oral authorisations as well, many of which are not signed by the Secretary of State, but by a faceless senior official (an amendment to RIPA which was sneaked into the Terrorism Act 2006, without any Parliamentary debate, due to the guillotine programming motions) , or simply by senior people who are not Secretaries of State i.e. Police Chief Constables, the Directors General of the Intelligence Agencies etc.
What about Mutual Legal Aid Treaty requests to and from foreign Governments and law enforcement agencies ?
What about intelligence shared with, and from, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UK-USA intelligence sharing treaty ("Echelon")?
None of these are necessarily "subject to authorisation by Secretary of State warrant."