Leak Sparks Whitehall CCTV Security Fears

Responsibility for the security of ministerial offices lies with the Security Service (MI5). Probes into security breaches of similar scale have been conducted by MI5 previously. Top secret information in the UK is divided into three categories: ‘STRAP One’, ‘STRAP Two’, and ‘STRAP Three’. The sensitivity of information increases numerically. Ministers are briefed regularly on information at STRAP One and Two within their offices.

Commenting on the security breach inherent in the leaking of CCTV footage of Hancock and Coladangelo, Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, says:

“Top Secret information passes through the offices of Secretaries of State every day. For reasons of national security, it should be impossible for a bug to be placed anywhere near such a facility. The Government must urgently explain how such a glaring security breach occurred and MI5 must immediately probe the circumstances. Given the seriousness, all other Ministerial offices will now need immediately sweeping to see what other listening and recording devices are snooping on Ministers.

Steps should also be taken to determine if this incident was conducted by a disgruntled civil servant or – given its sophistication and seriousness – agents of a hostile state.”

The Sun attributes the pictures to “whistleblowers” who “revealed the Health Secretary had been ­spotted cheating on his wife of 15 years with married Ms ­Coladangelo”. In the video, which remains unreleased, “Ms Coladangelo then walks towards him and the pair begin their passionate embrace.  According to a whistleblower, who used to work at the department, the pair have regularly been caught in clinches together.” Which suggests that the leak is internal rather than from the FSB…

Government guidance on CCTV in the workplace specifies that they must also:

  • tell people they may be recorded, usually by displaying signs, which must be clearly visible and readable
  • control who can see the recordings
  • make sure the system is only used for the purpose it was intended for – for example, if it was set up to detect crime, you must not use it to monitor how much work your staff do

Clearly if there are signs in Matt Hancock’s office he ignored them, and the Ministry definitely lost control of the recordings. The fact that CCTV footage from inside a Secretary of State’s office can end up on the front page of The Sun will not please security chiefs. If it can happen to Matt Hancock, could it be happening to Ben Wallace at the Ministry of Defence?

mdi-account-multiple-outline Gina Coladangelo Matt Hancock
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