Huntingdon College: program in Political Science and Public Affairs: What's New?
Freedom of Information Laws and Policies:
Research Materials: UK Secrecy & Information Clips.
compiled by Jeremy Lewis, PhD, revised 7 Sep. 2004.
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  • 02-25-04 from

                  UK: Charge Against GCHQ Whistleblower Dropped

      The Telegraph (UK) reports that charges of disclosing information
      against a British intelligence officer have been dropped. Katharine Gun,
      29, had been accused of leaking a memo on an alleged American "dirty
      tricks" campaign. She was charged under the Official Secrets Act of
      1989, accused of disclosing security and intelligence information.

      The prosecution said it would offer no evidence against her. Miss Gun,
      of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was sacked from her job as a
      translator at the Government Communications Headquarters, the
      security service's main monitoring centre, in June last year.

      She was accused of disclosing a request allegedly from a US National
      Security Agency official requesting help from British Intelligence to tap
      the telephones of UN Security Council delegates in the run-up to the
      war in Iraq.

      Miss Gun said at the time: "Any disclosures were justified because they
      exposed illegality by the US, who tried to subvert our security

    01-01-04 from

                UK: Ministers to Retain Almost 150 Secrecy Laws

      The Independent (UK) reports that Ministers are to keep nearly 150
      laws that deny the public a right to information, according to an interim
      report on a wide-ranging study that was intended to open up the
      Government and its agencies to greater scrutiny.

      Freedom of information campaigners warned last night that the
      retention of the "secrecy laws" showed that ministers and their civil
      servants were still wedded to a culture of secrecy. The review is part
      of a Government-wide initiative to repeal laws that conflict with the
      new Freedom of Information Act that comes into force on 1 January
      2005 and gives everyone a right to access information.

      But in a report seen by The Independent ministers say they want to
      retain the right of non-disclosure in 147 pieces of legislation. Ministers
      say they have not made up their minds on whether an additional 70
      pieces of legislation should also be added to the list.

      Yesterday the Government's own information watchdog warned that
      while many of these cases for denying access to information could be
      justified in the public interest, a significant number could not.