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Cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ spying programmes, says Chris Huhne

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Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor
London Guardian
October 7, 2013

Cabinet ministers and members of the national security council were told nothing about the existence and scale of the vast data-gathering programmes run by British and American intelligence agencies, a former member of the government has revealed.

Chris Huhne, who was in the cabinet for two years until 2012, said ministers were in “utter ignorance” of the two biggest covert operations, Prism and Tempora. The former Liberal Democrat MP admitted he was shocked and mystified by the surveillance capabilities disclosed by the Guardian from files leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“The revelations put a giant question mark into the middle of our surveillance state,” he said. “The state should not feel itself entitled to know, see and memorise everything that the private citizen communicates. The state is our servant.”

Writing in Monday’s Guardian, Huhne also questioned whether the Home Office had deliberately misled parliament about the need for the communications data bill when GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping headquarters, already had remarkable and extensive snooping capabilities.

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This article was posted: Monday, October 7, 2013 at 4:59 am





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