Supplementary written evidence from the Information Commissioner's Office (PS 112)
I am writing as requested to confirm the outcome of our recent telephone discussion. You asked whether the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) had disclosed any of the invoices and ledgers seized during the Operation Motorman investigation to the press. I have made enquiries and can confirm that we have not disclosed any of this information to the press nor made it publicly available in any other way. As far as we are aware the only people who have any of this information are:
· the police, who were also involved in Operation Motorman;
· the lawyers acting on behalf of Gordon Taylor to whom we supplied some of the information in response to a court order.
You asked whether we would be willing to supply any of the ledgers and invoices to your Committee. Whilst we are keen to assist the Committee in its Inquiry it would be difficult for us to provide any of this information unless we were under legal compulsion to do so or a convincing case was made as to how this level of detail, including the identity of individuals, would materially assist the Committee. It is important to bear in mind that the ledgers and invoices were seized under search warrant powers and their disclosure, other than for the purpose of our original investigation, might well be unlawful. Furthermore they contain personal information not just about journalists but also about other individuals unconnected to the media, who appear to have been involved in the "blagging" trade. This includes the victims of that trade whose involvement may not be in the public domain and who may not want any further intrusion into their privacy.