Intelligence and Security Committee open evidence session

07 November 2013

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament is today holding its first open evidence session. The witnesses are the three Heads of the UK intelligence Agencies.


  • Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
  • Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
  • Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.

This is the first time the three Heads of the intelligence Agencies have appeared together in public to talk about their work.

Session broadcast

The session will be broadcast on Parliament TV from 2 - 3.30pm. It will be on a short time delay, as a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies (a similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry).

Purpose of the session

The session provides an insight into the world of intelligence and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will be questioning the witnesses on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities, and threats to the UK.

Among other things, the session will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage. However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters (the Committee questions the Agencies about these details during their closed sessions).

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