Select Committee on Defence First Special Report


Memorandum from the Prime Minister concerning the Joint Intelligence Committee (8 March 2000)

  Thank you for the letter which you and Donald Anderson sent me on 17 February asking that a representative of the Joint Intelligence Committee appear before your two Committees with the Chief of Defence Intelligence.

  I understand your wish to examine the background to the Kosovo campaign. However, there are particular problems associated with your request to hear from the Joint Intelligence Committee. The Committee provides assessments which form part of advice to Ministers. This is an area not normally disclosed to Select Committees. In addition the intelligence background itself is highly sensitive, of a level of classification which again is not normally disclosed to Select Committees.

  Parliament recognised the special difficulties which Select Committees would have in handling intelligence matters when it decided to set up the intelligence and Security Committee. They are planning to examine the intelligence aspects of the Kosovo campaign in the next few months and I would expect to make their report available to Parliament to the fullest extent possible. In addition, I understand that the Defence Secretary is content for the Chief of Defence Intelligence to be part of one of the MoD teams that will be giving evidence to the Defence Committee later this month.

  I am copying this letter to Donald Anderson.

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