Justice and Security Bill

28. As I said earlier, in order to 
do our job of addressing these threats, we need to operate within a 
regulatory framework that is robust but flexible. Operational success 
for our Service increasingly depends not just on our own efforts but 
also on our ability to co-operate closely with others who are seeking 
the same goals. At home that means close co-operation with the Police 
Service, with whom the partnership that we have forged in the last ten 
years is viewed with envy by most other countries and is uniquely close 
and fruitful. It also means the closest co-operation with the UK’s other
 intelligence services, SIS and GCHQ, whose world class overseas 
capabilities are critical for our safety here at home. And it means that
 our own national security is inevitably enmeshed in that of other 
countries, with whom we must be able to collaborate and communicate 

29. The UK Intelligence community of necessity 
operates in secret. Our ability to safeguard this country from threats 
such as terrorism, espionage and extremism depends on our ability to 
keep secrets. Secrecy is essential if we are to avoid our opponents 
knowing whether they are on our radar and learning how we go about our 
work, and if sensitive sources are not to be put at risk. It is also 
essential to enable us to share intelligence with, and receive 
intelligence from, other intelligence services across the world. They 
must have the confidence that the information shared with us will be 
protected — and recent cases have cast doubt on our ability to deliver 
on our undertakings. But we are also accountable organisations that 
answer not just to government but also to the Intelligence and Security 
Committee of parliamentarians, to the Commissioners that oversee our 
work, and to the courts. We do not fear accountability, it’s an 
essential part of ensuring confidence in what we do and underpinning the
 values we uphold. At present our ability to account for our actions in 
the courts is constrained by the fact that sensitive national security 
related material relevant to civil proceedings can only be considered in
 open court. This means that such material cannot in practice go into 
court at all. This situation is bad for us, bad for the other party to 
proceedings and bad for the administration of justice.

30. I therefore welcome the recent proposals from 
the government to ensure that where sensitive intelligence-related 
material is relevant to a civil case it will be possible for the Judge 
to decide to consider it in a closed process. No material that is 
currently considered in public will be made secret under the new 
arrangements and the effect will be that more, rather than less, 
material will go before the courts. But the sensitive material will be 
protected. This will mean better justice and better accountability.

31. The government also proposes that the 
Intelligence and Security Committee should have a wider remit, with 
stronger powers to hear sensitive evidence and a more direct link to 
Parliament — again leading to better and more transparent 
accountability, which we welcome.

32. At the same time, the proposed legislation to 
ensure that communications data continues to be available to the police 
and security agencies in the future, as it has in the past, is in my 
view a necessary and proportionate measure to ensure that crimes, 
including terrorist crimes, can be prevented, detected and punished. It 
would be extraordinary and self-defeating if terrorists and criminals 
were able to adopt new technologies in order to facilitate their 
activities while the law enforcement and security agencies were not 
permitted to keep pace with those same technological changes.

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