Why has the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy, the current Interception of Communications Commissioner appointed under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, allowed himself to be embroiled in the disgraceful MPs' expenses political scandal ?
The BBC reports:
18:28 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Auditor Sir Thomas Legg sent out letters to MPs with his initial recommendations that they repay money, or provide more details, in October and they have been responding to him.
Appeal court judge
His final letters to MPs will go out next week, on 7 December.
It is up to the Members Estimate Committee to decide what to do about Sir Thomas's final recommendations, expected in early 2010.
It has asked former Court of Appeal judge Sir Paul Kennedy - who was also the government's Interception of Communications Commissioner - to consider written submissions by some MPs.
It says they must show "cause why there are special reasons ... that it would not be fair and equitable to require repayment either at all, or at the level recommended".
The appeals process is expected to be completed by 15 January 2010, after which MPs will be asked to vote on the committee's recommendation that they pay back the sums requested.
Sir Paul Kennedy is a former Appeal Court Judge, but surely there are plenty other such retired Judges available ?
There has been a vast increase in state snooping on Electronic Communications (thousands of warrants a year) and on Communications Data (hundreds of thousands of requests per year), which the Interception of Communications Commissioner is supposed to oversee, so where does he find the time to spare, to devote to MPs' expense claims ?
Will this mean that the Annual Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner is even shorter, and less detailed than usual ? Will it be, as in previous years, delayed beyond the statutory maximum of one calendar year after the data to which it refers ?
What was the point of appointing Sir Thomas Legg, and then later appointing Sir Paul Kennedy someone to potentially overturn his supposedly independent decisions ? Why was this process not set out fully and transparently in the first place ?
To the furious general public, this appointment by the Members Estimate Committee, looks like an "establishment coverup", since this retired Judge has no legal powers to punish errant MPs.
We also note that there obviously is not much work being done by Sir John Chilcot's "working group" on the admissibility of intercepted communications as evidence in court (currently forbidden by RIPA), since he is now busy with the Iraq war inquiry / coverup.