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Call Tom Watson to the Select Committee too.

with 6 comments

Was the Security Service involved in the hacking scandal?

As the story about Rupert Murdoch’s News International continues to evolve with more resignations and revelations one small written piece in Iain Dale’s latest platform seems to have evaded Fleet Street (for now) and it involves Gordon Brown’s lieutenant Tom Watson with his cleverly worded question to the Prime Minister earlier in the week. Former Tribune editor Mark Seddon writes:

So when earlier in the week, Watson asked the Prime Minister if the terms of the Inquiry into the Press would also include “rogue elements in the security services”, my ears pricked up. I have been wondering for some time how this level of serial criminality, this bugging and hacking from the Windsors to the Dowlers had seeming failed to register with our rather expensive intelligence services in MI5 and MI6. It seemed astonishing to me for instance that an officer in the Royal Protection Squad could happily flog private Royal contacts without anyone knowing. It also seemed surprising that no one seemed to know of the repeated attempts to access intensely private information on Gordon Brown. Some 4,000 people – probably far more – had their phones hacked, and no one knew what was going over in MI5?

So, apart from asking the Murdochs, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, various other journalists et al, perhaps the Commons Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport ought to request that Tom Watson appears before them next week. It would seem that he may have important information to share with them. If it is possible that members of MI5 or MI6 had helped journalists in their search for information to get a story at any cost then surely if it were proven, News International and News Corporation could not possibly pass any test that verifies them as a fit and proper organisation to hold a broadcast licence either here or abroad! They certainly ought not to be though of as fit and proper to take over BSkyB at any time in the future, irrespective of all the apologies offered this weekend.

If the Select Committee and the Judicial Enquiry find that this organisation has wormed its way into both the police forces of the UK and its Security Services, along with using its influence to manipulate politicians of all parties, then I’m pretty sure that public opprobrium would be so intense that shareholders might move to break up the company.

Although many will see Tom Watson’s moves as little more than “the revenge of Brown”, ultimately he may have done his country a great service.

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Written by curly

July 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

6 Responses

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  1. The review of the whole affair will disturb the sediment that lies beneath the waters. However, one issue that is clear is the lack of professional and ethical conduct expressed in the Met Police, yet again. I know it’s the largest force but it constantly seems to attract poor quality professionals. Thus undermining the confidence we should have in a public service that can never ‘win’. We would be well to remember that in the same week the Commissioner was found to take £12k of gratuities one of his constables was shot whilst chasing suspects and we can all recall the attack on our own constable David Rathband. Lets not be too quick to tar such public servants with the wide brush, including MI5. My own view is that the Commissioner of the Met should go, I feel that the rank and file of the police in this country will be shocked that senior officers (or any officer for that matter is accepting gratuities, or divulging information)!
    As for MI5 and MI6, they too are under immense pressure. They have a huge remit in looking at terrorism in its widest sense and if you look at their web sites and see what the starting pay for an agent is I’m sure you’d get a surprise. None the less, I wonder, if such an issue as with the ex-PM and Royalty in the UK would (or did) happen in the US against Presidents and former Presidents who have a Secret Service to protect them, what would be the public outcry there?
    My own opinion is that should hacking be discovered at such a level in the US then there would be a real issue. What would be the reaction by those governments who have a closed media to any outbursts against the free media? In effect we could end up giving them amunition.
    I agree there are wide implications but I didn’t think we needed Mark Seddon to tell us, or for him to be quoted in length here, I would have thought it was a bit obvious all along, didn’t you?


    July 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    • Well to be honest I didn’t think it was that obvious at all with all of the revelations surrounding our inability to alter the default pin number for our voicemail service. Although with over 4500 voicemail intercepts one has to concede that this was hacking on quite an industrial scale.
      Rebekah Brooks now arrested!


      July 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      • Will she do a “no comment” or a “it’s a fair cop, guv”? Or the more classic “I admit that I was in the getaway car, but I was reading an interesting book, and did not realise that the other passengers had robbed the bank”…


        July 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm

  2. The resignees retreat to their “Cotswold mansions” cushioned by lottery winner size “packages”, no doubt ready to negotiate lucrative book deals. Meanwhile, in the real world care workers and those that they care for face uncertain futures and the blue line of honest cops grows thinner, along with other fontline public servants. When I think of the hoops that local authority regulatory services have to go through to trace a rogue fly tipper or cowboy builder, when all you need is a rogue hacker with a determinedly networking boss at the helm..


    July 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    • How far do we have to go before the resignations come to an end?
      Will it force the Prime Minister out of office and precipitate the collapse of the Murdoch empire?


      July 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      • As I thought proper and commented upon in this blog earlier today, the Commissioner of the Met has resigned. This may go some distance towards providing more confidence by the public but as LLB comments the guys at the pointy end will still have to deliver the goods via no pay rises, redundancies and lack of resources. The public services for some reason are the butt of attack by the conservatives who do not recognise the good work they do. This is a situation not of the common mans making but that of the greed of capitalists such as Murdoch and co. Our beloved PM and most of the Condems will not suffer or if they do there will be little dint in their finances just as there will be little impact on the finances of the Commissioner who will no doubt now write a book. Curly I don’t know how serious a comment you were making re Cameron the man who invited Coulson to Chequers for the weekend after he had resigned, but be careful in jest – I think the government ratings in the polls will have taken a good thrashing – who knows where this could lead? A weak government, in a coalition, with weak leadership and many a u-turn could be walking a knife edge!


        July 17, 2011 at 9:12 pm

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