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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Spies 'R Us
Public Service reports that the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and GCHQ are working on a new network to collaborate with other agencies.
It seems that a recent initiative (SCOPE phase two), which was designed to deliver intelligence to law enforcement, government departments and agencies, has failed.
However, the government is never afraid to have another go at improving its spying capabilities. As such a new initiative has been launched.
Collaboration in the Intelligence Community (CLiC) is intended to be a "low-risk, inexpensive approach".
Former chief of SIS, Sir John Scarlett, is quoted:
"CLiC is designed to shore up... some of the capability that SCOPE 2 would have given us... We are doing really quite well on this more modest CLiC programme, which is not being run out of the Cabinet Office, it is being run out of SIS and GCHQ... and it will be of community-wide value when it is delivered."
What has this got to do with HMRC? I hear you ask.
Well, guess which agency will be the first to benefit from CLiC?
Yes, that's right, HMRC!
On the assumption that all things go according to plan, HMRC will be able to receive Top Secret intelligence and communicate securely via email.
Seemingly the improbably named secure messaging system STRAP3A (do a Google of images for this, and you come up with some quite unusual pictures) will let GCHQ, SIS, MI5, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office (FCO), the Cabinet Office, the Home Office et al exchange Top Secret information by April.
Needless to say, this being secret, the costs and contractor involved are all "hush hush". However, it seems that HMRC are footing part of the bill.
Let us trust that the information shared is better handled than other information that government agencies are prone to lose.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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