MI5 agents can commit crime in UK, government reveals

ource: The Guardian

MI5 agents are allowed to carry out criminal activity in the UK, the government has acknowledged for the first time.

The prime minister was on Thursday forced to publish the text of a direction to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office, the spying watchdog, on governing “security service participation in criminality”.

It instructs the IPCO to oversee the participation of MI5 agents in criminal activity, which was previously conducted by the now-defunct office of the Intelligence Services Commissioner, under a secret order referred to as the “third direction”.

However, guidance about when British spies can commit crimes, and how far they can go, remains confidential.

The commissioner, Lord Justice Sir Adrian Fulford, said: “I welcome the government’s decision to make public my oversight of this sensitive area of work.”

The order was published after a legal battle by the human rights groups Reprieve and Privacy International.

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