Thursday, 7 November 2013

"UK intelligence chiefs in first public grilling"

From the BBC:

The heads of the UK's spying agencies were today quizzed by MPs and peers in an unprecedented televised hearing.

GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban, MI5 director general Andrew Parker and MI6 chief Sir John Sawers have spent the day in front of Intelligence and Security Committee shaking their heads slowly while remaining tight lipped.

The questioning follows leaks by ex-US security contractor Edward Snowden which raised concerns about spying.

Committee chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind began the hearing by saying it was a "very significant step forward in the transparency of our intelligence agencies". The agency chiefs responded by pressing their hands over their ears and humming loudly.

When asked about their role in a post-Cold War world, MI5 chief Andrew Parker held a straightened index finger in front of his pursed lips while staring straight ahead.

GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban was asked whether they were worth the £2bn in taxpayer money they receive each year. His response was to make an exaggerated horizontal zipping motion in front of his mouth and to fold his arms in front of his chest.

MI6 chief Sir John Sawers's response to questions on why the security services had failed to predict the fall of the Soviet Union, 9/11 and the Arab Spring was to clap one hand over his mouth. With the other hand, he locked his mouth shut with an imaginary key and then tossed it over his shoulder.

The hearing had to be adjourned after Andrew Parker managed to hold his breath for so long that he started to go blue in the face.