About the Committee

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) was first established by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The Justice and Security Act 2013 reformed the ISC: making it a Committee of Parliament; providing greater powers; and increasing its remit (including oversight of operational activity and the wider intelligence and security activities of Government). Other than the three intelligence and security Agencies, the ISC examines the intelligence-related work of the Cabinet Office including: the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC); the Assessments Staff; and the National Security Secretariat. The Committee also provides oversight of Defence Intelligence in the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office.

Members of the ISC are appointed by Parliament and the Committee reports directly to Parliament. The Committee may also make reports to the Prime Minister on matters which are national security sensitive.

The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and have access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties. The Committee takes evidence from Cabinet Ministers and senior officials – all of which is used to formulate its reports.

Recent Announcements

The Committee's most recent announcements are displayed below. For earlier announcements, or to see more details/attachments, please select 'News Archive' from the navigation bar.
 
  • 19 December 2013
    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today issued a statement regarding to the publication of the Detainee Inquiry's report.

    Posted 19 Dec 2013 04:16 by ISC Admin
  • 11 December 2013
    On 17 October 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) announced that it would be broadening its inquiry into the laws which govern the intelligence agencies’ ability to intercept private communications. In addition to considering whether the current statutory framework governing access to private communications remains adequate, the Committee is also considering the appropriate balance between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security.

    The Committee is now inviting written submissions from those who wish to contribute to its Privacy and Security Inquiry.  Further details are provided in the Call for Papers.

    Posted 11 Dec 2013 06:55 by ISC Admin
  • 7 November 2013
    Following today's open evidence session, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has issued an uncorrected transcript of the evidence given by Sir Iain Lobban (Director, GCHQ), Mr Andrew Parker (Director General, MI5), and Sir John Sawers (Chief, MI6).

    Posted 7 Nov 2013 10:56 by ISC Admin
  • 7 November 2013
    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament is today holding its first Open Evidence Session. The witnesses are the three Heads of the UK intelligence Agencies:
    • Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
    • Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, MI5; and 
    • Sir John Sawers, Chief, MI6. 
    The session will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv from 14:00 and is expected to last approximately 90 minutes. It will feature a short time delay, as a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. (A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.)

    Posted 7 Nov 2013 02:28 by ISC Admin
  • 23 October 2013
    Open Evidence Session

    At 14:00 on Thursday 7 November, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will be holding an Open Evidence Session with the three heads of the UK Intelligence Agencies:
    • Sir Iain Lobban, Director, GCHQ;
    • Mr Andrew Parker, Director General, Security Service; and
    • Sir John Sawers, Chief, Secret Intelligence Service.
    This will be the Committee's first Open Evidence Session: it will be the first time the three heads of the Intelligence Agencies have appeared in public together to talk about their work.

    The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence, and the work the Agencies do on behalf of the UK. It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the Agencies. The Committee will question the Agency Heads on the work of the Agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage. However, since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters. The Committee questions the Agencies about these details in their closed sessions.

    The session will be held on the Parliamentary estate and will last approximately an hour and a half. It will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv.

    The session will be broadcast on a short time delay. The time delay is a security mechanism to allow the Committee to pause the broadcast if anything is mentioned which might endanger national security or the safety of those working for the Agencies. A similar process was used during the public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry.

    There will be a limited number of seats available in the meeting room itself. For security reasons, the Committee has agreed that for this first Open Session these seats will be available to full Parliamentary pass holders and a small number of print journalists only. A notification of the event has been posted on the parliamentary intranet and pass holders have been invited to apply for a seat, which will be allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.

    Media arrangements are being dealt with separately.

    Posted 23 Oct 2013 03:04 by ISC Admin
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