Spyblog has always been a strong supporter of journalists or other online publishers protecting the Anonymity of whistleblowers or other confidential sources by using the most professional human and technological techniques available.
However, whistleblower anonymity is rarely maintained indefinitely. It is vital whilst a whistleblower is in immediate danger of arrest or other reprisal, but very often a genuine whistleblower wants to go public with their story.
This now seems to be the case for Edward Joseph Snowden, the former CIA employee and computer systems infrastructure contractor recently working for the NSA in Hawaii, who has identified himself as the source of the recent revelations published in The Guardian and the Washington Post.
Monday 10th June 2013 is unlikely to shed much light on the United Kingdom aspects of this affair.
Home Secretary Theresa May and MI5 involvement in the #Woolwich murder suspects - nothing will be revealed because the court case is still in progress.
Supposedly the new Director General of MI5 the Security Service Andrew Parker is meant
to have given evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has been on television on Sunday, failing to reassure the public that GCHQ and NSA have not been snooping on innocent UK people
Hague claimed the standard "Intelligence gathering in UK is governed by strong legal process. It is authorised, necessary, proportionate & targeted
Will William Hague resign if it is disclosed that the US snooping on the UK was not always under direct British control and in accordance with UK rather than US law ?
Exactly the same sort of unconvincing assurances were made by his Labour predecessor Jack Straw in regard to torture / rendition by the USA and with the cooperation of UK intelligence agencies. Straw had to admit that he had mislead Parliament over rendition flights to and from UK sovereign territory. The Detainee Inquiry if it is ever re-convened after being nobbled, and the court cases from Libya will show either that Jack Straw was lying about sanctioning assistance in kidnapping and torture or he was not informed in detail by MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service and not informed by GCHQ who should have been monitoring this.
Spyblog expects that William Hague's statement to the House of Commons on Monday will try to divert attention from the main allegations regarding the revelations about the NSA's global snooping efforts and British GCHQ involvement in them, by waving the usual "terrorism" flag and claiming that GCHQ always operates within UK law.
The inference that the NSA's PRISM system was used by the British authorities, presumably GCHQ, to generate 197 reports has lead to speculation that could have been illegal interception under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
However, if William Hague has signed a warrant under the Intelligence Services Act 1984, which gives GCHQ effectively a carte blanche to do stuff overseas that would otherwise be illegal here in the UK, then, technically, he will be able to claim that all such snooping was , in fact legal.
He will not, of course mention any specific details of those 197 cases or reports, but the wretched "neither confirm nor deny" nonsense which he repeated on Sunday will no doubt come into play again.
What possible justification is there for "neither confirm nor deny" for anything whatsoever to do with the intelligence agencies, no matter how far removed from actual tactical operations or live investigations ?
There is no problem in discussing the cost or lack of value for money of say large military defence procurement programmes for submarines or aircraft carriers or combat aeroplanes etc. Doing so does *not* harm our national security and gives no significant advantage to a potential enemy whatsoever. It may actually deter some potential enemies from attacking us in the first place.
But the UK government will try to hide behind the outdated "neither confirm nor deny" nonsense when it comes to even mentioning the code names of mulch-million pound computer projects used by GCHQ etc.
Hague will also claim that , somehow, the Intelligence and Security Committee provides independent scrutiny of the UK Intelligence Services.
The ISC has never commanded much respect from the public in the past and even the slight changes to its remit and powers to investigate recently brought in this year would not have applied to the recent revelations, which go back to 2006 or so.
Coincidentally, the Intelligence and Security Committee seem to be off to the USA on Monday for a previously arranged trip to be briefed by the more powerful US intelligence watchdog committees.
None of the members of the ISC can be considered to be even moderately expert at computer and internet and telecommunications technology. Malcolm Rifkind managed to confuse Interception of Content with Communications Data when recently championing a revival of the #snooperscharter in the aftermath of the #Woolwich murder.
So it is completely plausible to assume that they will be easily bamboozled by technical jargon and fail to grasp the nuanced threats to the United Kingdom if they are actually briefed on the details of PRISM or Boundless Informant and the underlying snooping infrastructure upon which these systems rely.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind and the other other members of the ISC should ask:
1) Is the FBI / NSA snooping on the mobile phone Communications Traffic meta data of the phones belonging to the members of the Committee and their staff ?
N.B. There are no protections for "foreigners" under the relevant US snooping laws, as demonstrated by the top Secret Verizon / FISA court order, no matter how friendly they are to the USA.
2) The ISC's own website is hosted on http://isc.independent.gov.uk, which is hosted by Google, with their Reports being published via Google Docs,
The ISC should establish, whilst they are in the USA, who exactly has been given access to the web server visitor logfiles.
If they cannot get straight answers to those two simple questions, which affect the security and effectiveness of the Intelligence and Security Committee itself, then they cannot provide any public reassurance whatsoever in this whole affair, regardless of what William Hague might claim in his statement.