British Spy Chiefs To Testify Publicly for the First Time

Inquiry into British intelligence practices

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The U.K. government’s Intelligence and Security Committee has announced that the country’s senior intelligence chiefs will testify in public for the first time.

The heads up of the Government Communications Headquarters, the MI5 Security Service and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service will appear before the committee on Nov. 7, the Guardian reports

“The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK,” the committee said in a statement. “It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies.”

Among the subjects covered will be cyber security and espionage. The hearing comes in the wake of revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden of both U.S. and international intelligence services’ programs of mass digital surveillance.

The so-called open evidence session, the first time the three heads of the intelligence agencies have appeared in public to talk about their work, follows an announcement earlier this month that it will run an inquiry into privacy and security. Committee chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind said in a statement that the inquiry would seek to find the balance “between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security.”

[The Guardian]