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December 5, 2013

Home Office minister Norman Baker backs Guardian in debate over surveillance revelations

By Darren Boyle

A Liberal Democrat Home Office minister who claims the  British state sanctioned the murder of a whistleblower believes the level of spying in Britain and the US on their own citizens should be investigated.

In an interview with the New Statesman, Norman Baker said there should be a major discussion into the level of surveillance within Britain.

He said: “Yes. In my view it is perfectly reasonable for the Guardian to raise questions about the balance between the state and the individual to take account of the fact that technology has moved on a huge amount and the law was drafted when we didn’t have the means of communication we do now – Skype and everything else – and the capacity of the security services, or the Americans, to engage in trawling for stuff.”

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger appeared in front of the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday to defend his decision to publish stories based on the information leaked by Edward Snowden.  

Baker wrote the 424-page book – The Strange Death of David Kelly – following the scientist’s death in 2003.

This book and his views about the possible involvement of the security services into Kelly’s death have made his appointment to the Home Office as controversial.

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Baker said critics of his book have not in general read his work and said he would welcome a new investigation into the circumstances of Kelly’s death. He criticised the silence of the media in relation to the issue.

“The fact that there was no coroner’s inquest appeared to be of no interest to the collective media; I just find that absolutely astonishing. . . People can look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

“All I would say is that in 2003, we had a situation where the prime minister of the day lied to parliament about the case for war.”

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