Hillary Clinton on the oversight of intelligence agencies

Hillary Rodham Clinton at Chatam House Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Hillary Rodham Clinton at Chatam House
Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

The Guardian reports today that Hillary Clinton has called for a « sensible adult conversation », to be held in a transparent way, about the boundaries of state surveillance highlighted by the leaking of secret NSA files by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Her words are echoed by the British shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, who repeated her call in a speech in July for reform of the oversight of the intelligence agencies.

The conciliatory language of Clinton and Cooper contrasted with that of MI5, whose director general, Andrew Parker, warned earlier this week that the leaked documents by Snowden had provided a gift to terrorists. The former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw reinforced that message Friday, criticising the Guardian for publishing articles based on the leaked documents.

But Hillary Clinton and Yvette Cooper are in line with the declaration of  Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. The business secretary, confirmed the Lib Dems wanted to examine the oversight of the intelligence agencies and he praised the Guardian for performing a public service in publishing articles on the files. « The conclusion which Nick Clegg came to, and set out this morning, is that we do need to have proper political oversight of the intelligence services and arguably we haven’t until now. What they [the Guardian] did was, as journalists, entirely correct and right. Snowden is a different kettle of fish. »

Hillary Clinton: we need to talk sensibly about spying, The Guardian, Saturday 12 October 2013

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