» Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Katharine Gun

Asked why the Government had dropped its prosecution of Katharine Gun, the so-called ‘GCHQ whistleblower’, the PMOS said that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had put out a statement on this matter. He had nothing to add to it. In answer to a multitude of other questions, the PMOS said that his answer remained the same.

Asked if Ministers had been aware of a request from the US Administration asking GCHQ to monitor the activities of foreign governments at the UN in the run-up to the Iraq conflict, the PMOS repeated that he had nothing to say either about the case or any intelligence issues. Put to him that all these were surely legitimate questions to ask, the PMOS explained that he was unable to go further than the CPS statement because just as they themselves had said that it would not be appropriate for them to elucidate on the reasons, it was, similarly, inappropriate for him to comment. He pointed out that it had been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence issues.

Asked why the Attorney General’s advice on the legality of the Iraq conflict had not been published, the PMOS said it was a convention, stretching back over many administrations, that the Attorney General’s advice was not published. He reminded journalists, however, that, as a result of the legitimate interest about the legal basis for the conflict, the Government had, uniquely so he thought, set out a summary of the advice provided by the Attorney General at the time.

Asked if the ISC might want to examine why the prosecution of Ms Gun had failed and include the matter in their annual report, the PMOS said that what the ISC chose to consider was entirely a matter for them. Asked if any other body might want to investigate the matter, the PMOS said that the ISC was the Committee which reported to Parliament, through the Prime Minister, on the intelligence services.

Asked if Downing Street was concerned that people who leaked state secrets no longer needed to fear prosecution, the PMOS said that the case against Ms Gun had been dropped. As the CPS had said, they no longer believed there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. <p>Some Acronym bashing, for readers less well acquainted with the inner workings of British Government.</p>

    <p><strong>CPS</strong> &#8212; The Crown Prosecution Service performs criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown (so on behalf of the state) in England and Wales. Site at http://www.cps.gov.uk/</p&gt;

    <p><strong>ISC</strong> &#8212; The Intelligence and Security Committee reports to the Prime Minister and is staffed by officials from the Cabinet Office. Site at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/intelligence</p&gt;

    Comment by Owen Blacker — 26 Feb 2004 on 7:12 pm | Link
  2. Out of historic interest, the leaked memorandum from the US intelligence services on bugging UN diplomatic missions was reported in The Observer on 2 March 2003 here:

    The text of the leaked US memorandum itself is here:

    Comment by Bob — 26 Feb 2004 on 11:58 pm | Link

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


February 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Jan   Mar »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh