The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community.
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The Committee was established under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, but its powers were reinforced in the Justice and Security Act 2013.
Under the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (which can be found at Annex A in the Committee’s Annual Report 2013-2014), the ISC oversees the policies, expenditure, administration and operations of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Homeland Security Group.
The Committee sets its own agenda and work programme, taking evidence from Ministers, the Heads of the intelligence and security Agencies, senior officials, experts, and academics as it considers necessary.
The Committee consists of nine Members, drawn from both Houses of Parliament and appointed by Parliament. The Chair of the Committee is elected by its Members. The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and are routinely given access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties.
The Committee is currently conducting Inquiries into:
- national security issues relating to China;
- International Partnerships;
- Cloud technologies; and
- national security issues relating to Iran.
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