Thursday, February 19, 2009

At last some courage...

Who was listening to Kate and Gerry McCann?

By Jon Clements*

A few days ago I received an interesting letter from Leicestershire police about the Madeleine McCann investigation.

I had asked them, in July, if they had got any warrants (under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to use surveillance powers - such as phone tapping and email interception on behalf of the Portuguese police.

The force initially stalled saying it needed to "consult other Agencies" before replying. After a six month delay, Leicestershire has now claimed it is exempt from Freedom of Information laws in this case due to "national security".

I've put in dozens of FoI requests to police forces over the years, some you get and some you don't but "national security" is a new one on me.

To make matters even murkier, Leicestershire claimed a second exemption because the information I requested could relate to "the Security bodies".

A quick look at the FoI Act reveals "Security bodies" are MI5, MI6, GCHQ (pictured above), special forces (such as the SAS) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.


Despite claiming these exemptions, Leicestershire seem at pains to neither confirm nor deny they hold any information relevant to my request anyway.

Check out (slowly I suggest) the tortuous conclusion to the three page letter explaining their stance.

"It is our decision that the Leicestershire Constabulary must maintain a position of neither confirming nor denying that any relevant information is held and that this response, which neither confirms nor denies that information is held, should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or does not exist".

Thanks, but I think that is a rather long-winded way of saying Foxtrot Oscar.

However, it does beg the question just who was bugging the McCanns after they returned from Praia da Luz? And what has the answer got to do with national security ?

*Jon Clements is a crime Correspondent for the Daily Mirror. He joined the newspaper in 1999 and has been showbiz editor and a foreign reporter covering Iraq, Lebanon and Israel.

Kate, Gerry and national security - update

By Jon Clements

I've just spoken to the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell who has declined to comment. Quite sensible, really. After all, you never who's listening do you ?


helmylin2 said...

Hi Cláudia,

It really makes you wonder exactly who the MC Cann's are. The mind boggles that two doctors not very high up on the food chain get all this protection.

I'm sure if I lost a child,set up a fund, used the fund to pay my mortage (Sorry that is spelt wrong) and heaven knows what else I'm sure I'd be in the jail.

It really makes me so angry I could spit!


Cláudia said...

Hi, Helmy!
It does make you wonder.
I think any common citizens would have had it a lot harder just for leaving the children home alone.
Poor Madeleine. Was never the priority.

Zetta said...

Olá Cláudia

Não concordo com tudo. Mesmo assim, boas perguntas!

Cláudia said...

Olá, Zetta!
Quase foi difícil acreditar que aquelas perguntas vieram de um jornalista inglês, a trabalhar para um jornal inglês. Será que o desgraçado ainda tem emprego?
Um bom dia!

nancy said...

Gina -

I'm glad your hand is feeling better, but sorry to hear you have to have the other one operated on too.

What exactly is the name of the condition you have, because I have a friend who had the same thing done - I know it's a strange sounding condition, where the fingers bend towards the palm or something like that.


Cláudia said...

Hi, Nancy!
You posted your post on a February thread, so I think Gina will never get to read it. I'll copy paste it and publish it on the latest thread.