UK spies secretly granted power to spy on journalists and lawyers


There’s nothing against it in our constitution…

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If you have nothing to hide, Citizen, you have nothing to fear.


I’m pretty sure it’s accepted as constitutionally illegal to eavesdrop on a suspect’s conversation with counsel. Isn’t it?

How they’ve been getting away with things like this in the US is by re-classifying things from criminal law to national security. Traditionally, national security operations tended to happen only abroad - or domestically if there were clear ties to a “hostile foreign power”. Part of the problem with the “War on Terror” is that it has been an expansion based upon having no clear enemy, and this has been used as an excuse to focus the military apparatus upon the domestic population, thus avoiding disclosure, accountability, due process, etc. If “national interests” are a vague and secretive thing, the defense of them is jurisdiction by fiat.

I don’t know about the UK, but there might well be some wording which allows defense to trump the rights of the citizens in some general way.


That makes sense. It reminds me that lawyers for the Gitmo detainees have been complaining about this for years.


As we all know, lawyers and journalists are far more dangerous to these entrenched power structures than terrorists. Indeed, terrorists are only the excuse for their true goal, which is spying on journalists.


The summary seems to be : It’s legal and even expected for the security agencies to spy on journalists and their sources, and also to collect legally privileged information between clients and their defence lawyers. It’s counterproductive for the security services to pass that information on to the police or to the prosecution involved in an active case, because if the prosecution try to introduce it as evidence, or if the prosecution disclose it to the defence, the judge will stay the case.

It sounds as though if a client mentions a third party during a legally privileged conversation who is not part of the case at hand, or if parts of a conversation between a client and his defence council are not directly legal advice, then the security services may pass on those pieces of information to an unrelated branch of the police, e.g. a different police force, perhaps after the first case is concluded. Doing this does not prejudice the case at hand and thus it is OK

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It’s wily, I’ll give 'em that.

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Conveniently, of course, good old “parallel construction” allows classified surveillance and assorted fruits of the metaphorical poisonous tree to be converted into rich, wholesome, admissible, evidence efficiently and without pesky disclosure…


Sure, if PC Plod can stumble into the same evidence on his own, it’s all above board, innit?

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Reminds me of some of the ruses that Brits used to pretend that they happened to information (e.g. German submarine positions) by chance than by Enigma. E.g. sending a patrol plane to “just accidentally” be somewhere near.

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