PM’s report delay frustrates intelligence MPs

By staff

MPs on the intelligence and security committee have expressed “disappointment” after Gordon Brown published their annual 2008/09 report four months late.

The report was sent to the prime minister on December 15th but Mr Brown only chose to lay it before parliament today.

As it covers the period from December 2008 to July 2009, MPs note, it is “now considerably out of date”.

“It is a matter of some disappointment to the committee that the prime minister is publishing this report eight months after the reporting period concluded,” committee chairman Kim Howells said.

“We hope… the government will undertake not to allow such a significant delay to occur in the future.”

Another major area of frustration was ministers’ refusal to provide the committee with the guidance used for the treatment and interviewing of detainees held overseas.

The government is refusing to publish this, but Mr Brown has made an exception to the newly revised guidance. This is due to be released soon.

The committee, which is made up of senior parliamentarians and takes evidence in private, said that Britain’s intelligence agencies were devoting resources to issues ranging beyond international counterterrorism.

Nuclear non-proliferation, regional instability, espionage and “other challenges” were all being addressed.