Former shadow home secretary David Davis has stood up for the DA-Notice system following a report in the Indpendent that Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee wants new legal curbs stopping the media reporting matters which could harm national security.
Up until now, the voluntary DA-Notice system has stopped journalists reporting such information – which has included revealing details about military matters which the committee believes could put forces lives at risk.
The reasoning behind this proposal gives even more cause for astonishment. There is only one example in the public domain in which a case was compromised by information being released to the press. This is the case of an Islamist plot to kidnap and murder a British serviceman in 2007, when cameras and reporters were present virtually at the arrest of the suspects in Birmingham. The only possible sources of this leaked information are those civil servants, ministers and advisors within the extremely secure Whitehall boundaries, or the police themselves.
It is incredible, that as a direct result of a security failure caused by leaks within their own ranks, Whitehall and the government are now attempting to control the press in a manner reminiscent of something from behind the Iron Curtain.
The irony of all this, is that the press has done a very good job, both in this country and others, in balancing responsible reporting with a need to provide a degree of accountability by those charged with protecting our security.