Is the “Secret Email System” Just Lotus Notes?

ITN last night and the Mail today are repeating the “Smoking Gun” story with a twist about a “secret I.T. system”. Guido thinks the story is a little muddled. Here is what a seemingly well informed co-conspirator wrote last night:

There isn’t a second email system in my humble opinion – there is a confidential database thats written in Lotus Notes – a system more commonly recognised as an email platform but one that also can be used for database work.

The system is primarily used by Labour party employees and although partly ran by No. 10 staff, access is severly restricted, in the same way parliament’s I.T. department have to provide impartial service to the parties who have MPs, so do the No. 10 staff have to be impartial when helping the party-in-power therefore there is a kind of two-tier IT infrastructure in No. 10 and also the Palace of Westminister.

The database access is for staff in the No. 10 office of the Labour party, Powell and his staff and also key minsters’ SpAds, they contribute briefing documents, in various stages of preparation before being used by other spads to present key ideas to ministers and ultimately Tony Blair himself, all the speeches and statements and PMQ briefs are in there, going all the way back to ’97.

To Guido this rings true.

UPDATE : Co-conspirators have spotted and tipped off Guido to the Labour party’s private email system supplied by a Microsoft subsidary. The Whale Secure Remote Access website emphasises “it was designed to meet Israeli military-grade security needs, and all thought: ‘we definitely need this!’ “, so said Steve Turnbull, Network Manager, Labour Party. It fortunately has “Strict provisions for wiping all traces of email attachments, files and user credentials from the end-point, as well as the ability to permit different levels of access and functionality depending on compliance of the access device with Party security policy, would be critical.” It does run Lotus notes groupware.



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Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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