UK Foreign Secretary Says Merely 'Speculating' About Intelligence Capabilities Is Damaging To The Country
from the silence-peons! dept
As much as we bemoan the attacks on freedom of the press in the US, I’m increasingly astounded at the disdain the British government appears to have for any sort of press that might hold them accountable. We’ve already talked about David Cameron trying to stop the Guardian from publishing any more Snowden leaks, and even suggesting that there should be criminal penalties. Last week, we noted that MI6 boss John Sawers appeared to be massively overstating the “harm” caused by the reporting.
And, now, it appears that the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has taken it up a notch, arguing that merely speculating about the kinds of capabilities the intelligence community has puts everyone at risk:
“By speculating about our capabilities, it makes it easier for people who want to evade interception but are seeking to damage our country, or kill people, it makes it easier for them to evade interception. That is something that is very, very serious, and very damaging.”
What a load of complete hogwash. First of all, merely speculating doesn’t reveal what’s actually going on. Second, terrorists already know pretty damn well about the ability of governments to spy, and as we saw with Osama bin Laden, they take extra precautions to avoid using tools that can be tracked. Third, and perhaps more importantly, the very fact that bin Laden was forced to avoid easily tracked communications actually made his activities that much more difficult to proceed, since he was unable to coordinate as effectively. You’d think that this sort of thing would be a good thing for governments in stopping terrorism.
I recognize that the right to a free press has never been as strongly put forth in the UK as it is in the US (even though it may be under attack here), but these blatant attacks on the freedom of the press to report on things very much in the public interest are quite disturbing.