INTELLIGENCE SERVICES – TERRORISM – 11 July 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: In view of the right hon. Lady's [Ann Taylor] explanation of the difficulties that were faced by the intelligence services, does she agree that one unnecessary difficulty was that, after an earlier attack, it was disclosed that intelligence services in the United States had had some success in listening in on Osama bin Laden's satellite phone, but that thereafter they were never able to do it again? Does not that confirm exactly what the right hon. Lady has been saying about the balance that has to be struck between oversight and the maintenance of security on desperately secret information?

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Dr Lewis: If what my right hon. Friend [James Arbuthnot] is saying is correct, surely the implication is that the intelligence services have to be proactive? If we cannot rely on a terrorist cell to leak, we need to acquire enough intelligence to disrupt it so that it cannot proceed with its plans, even if we do not know what those plans are.