British intelligence services MI6 and GCHQ suspected that they could illegally authorize their informants to commit serious crimes at home. The Guardian writes about this with reference to the court decision of a closed security tribunal considering complaints against the UK intelligence agencies.
According to the ruling, secret intelligence informers may have been allowed to “engage in criminal activities in the United Kingdom”. The court raised the issue of the legality of such permission, despite the ban of parliament. Under the Intelligence Services Act, agents can only break the law abroad.
Evidence of this has surfaced in a case brought by a coalition of civil liberties groups including Reprieve, the Pat Finucane Center, Privacy International and the Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) in Belfast. Appealing to the tribunal, Ben Jaffee, QC representing the coalition, said that “MI6 and GCHQ cannot engage in criminal activity in the UK,” as only the Security Service (MI5) has this right.
However, Whitehall sources said the trial was still pending and warned those making “assumptions” about MI6's mandate and intentions.
This is the second time in two days that MI6's actions have been questioned after the service did not inform the UK Foreign Office that one of its overseas secret agents was out of control and could be involved in serious crimes. … They wanted to renew the murder license for the said employee. And although MI6 had good reason to believe that the prohibitions were violated by it, the intelligence still turned to the Foreign Ministry with a request to extend its powers. Supervisory authorities drew attention to this circumstance.
In August, it became known that secret agents of the British intelligence service MI6, 60 years later, will again receive a license to kill the country's enemies: it was officially renewed. This was stated by the British Defense Secretary Annabel Goldie.