Whitehall leaks inquiry questions whistleblowers

19 March 2009

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) is continuing its inquiry into leaks and whistleblowing in Whitehall by hearing from a panel of ex-civil servants about the different actions they took when faced with a situation they believed to be wrong. Watch from 10.00 am

Witnesses inlcude:

  • Katharine Gun, a former GCHQ translator who leaked an e-mail from U.S. intelligence agents which asked British officers to tap phones of certain nations voting on war against Iraq.
  • Dr Brian Jones, previously of the Defence Intelligence Staff, who gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry about his team’s attempts to tone down the claims in the WMD dossier, and about his work with Dr David Kelly, who anonymously briefed the BBC about his concerns in this area.
  • Derek Pasquill, a former Foreign Office official who leaked documents about the government’s attitude to secret CIA rendition flights and links to Muslim groups.
  • Carne Ross, a former British diplomat, who had concerns that the claims in the WMD dossier were inaccurate and gave secret testimony about this to the Butler Review, before resigning.

The session is an opportunity to explore why some civil servants feel compelled to leak information and some don’t and what wider lessons can be learnt from the experiences of the witnesses.

PASC’s inquiry into leaks and whistleblowing in Whitehall is looking at the effects of leaks on the operations of government, the steps taken to investigate and prevent occurrences and how to decide whether the public interest is best served by keeping information confidential or disclosing it.

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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