The Telegraph reports that Britain's Attorney General, by way of the Metropolitan police, is investigating MI6, its formerly secret foreign intelligence service, for "alleged complicity in torture." MI5, the UK's counterintelligence agency, is already being investigated. According to the police,
"This is unrelated to Binyam Mohamed but looks at the conditions under which a non-British citizen was detained and the potential involvement of British personnel.The idea of a police or other legal investigation of supposedly secret intelligence operations would be laughable if it wasn't so damaging. This is the extent to which blind legalism has led.
There's a telling paragraph in the article,
The existence of MI5 and MI6, which celebrate their centenary this year, was not even acknowledged until 1992 but since then the government has laid out an explicit legal framework that governs their activity.For almost 90 years, the British government didn't even acknowledge the existence of these organizations or their operations. Why? Because they are supposed to be secret intelligence agencies. For some reason many people have forgotten that the effectiveness of secret intelligence operations requires secrecy. I'm not sure why that's become a difficult concept lately.
Likewise, for the same near 90 years, there was no "explicit legal framework" for their actions. Why? Because secret intelligence operations, by their very nature, often operate outside the law. For most of the history of British intelligence, the UK has recognized the obvious. Espionage is by definition an illegal activity, as are many things associated with it. Chaining down intelligence agencies with legal restrictions is something like preventing bicycle riders from using the pedals. Yes, you can still ride a bike without using them (sort of), but pedals are an integral part of the machine. Riding without them greatly reduces the usefulness of bicycles.
If you had told Winston Churchill that the UK would be launching a police investigation of its secret intelligence services, on behalf of foreign terror suspects who claimed they were tortured, he would have looked at you like you were completely insane. But now insanity masquerades as the "rule of law."