A few days ago I received an interesting letter from
police about the
Madeleine McCann investigation.
I had asked them, in July, if they had got any warrants (under the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to use surveillance powers -
such as phone tapping and email interception on behalf of the Portuguese
The force initially stalled saying it needed to "consult other Agencies"
After a six month delay, Leicestershire has now claimed it is exempt
from Freedom of Information laws in this case due to "national
I've put in dozens of FoI requests to police forces over the years, some
you get and some you don't but "national security" is a new one on me.
To make matters even murkier, Leicestershire claimed a second exemption
because the information I requested could relate to "the Security
A quick look at the FoI Act reveals "Security bodies" are MI5, MI6, GCHQ
(pictured above), special forces (such as the SAS) and the Serious
Organised Crime Agency.
Despite claiming these exemptions, Leicestershire seem at pains to
neither confirm nor deny they hold any information relevant to my
Check out (slowly I suggest) the tortuous conclusion to the three page
letter explaining their stance.
"It is our decision that the Leicestershire Constabulary must maintain a
position of neither confirming nor denying that any relevant information
is held and that this response, which neither confirms nor denies that
information is held, should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the
information you have requested exists or does not exist".
Thanks, but I think that is a rather long-winded way of saying Foxtrot
However, it does beg the question just who was bugging the
after they returned from
Praia da Luz?
And what has the answer got to do with national security