Security Concerns Over Assange Lawyer’s Access

Seumas Milne’s relationship with Julian Assange’s lawyer has raised security concerns about the confidential intelligence briefings received by Jeremy Corbyn. As a member of the Privy Council, Labour have confirmed that Corbyn has received security briefings about threats to the UK. Given the links between Assange, Wikileaks, hacking and Russia, it is a quite extraordinary situation for the Leader of the Opposition’s main aide to be involved with Assange’s long-term lawyer. Imagine if Theresa May’s top adviser was in bed with someone on the Wikileaks defence team – it would be a national scandal on a par with Donald Trump Jr.

The Hacked Off brigade’s criticism doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Hugh Grant, Hugh Tomlinson QC et al argue there is no public interest. The Editor’s Code sets several public interest conditions, including “Protecting public health or safety” and “impropriety, unethical conduct or incompetence concerning the public”. The security concerns easily satisfy the “protecting public health” condition, and no one can argue married Seumas has behaved properly or ethically.

Robertson claims the story fails to meet the Editor’s Code rule that “It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy”. Seumas and Jennifer were in a hotel bar with dozens and dozens of other drinkers. As you can see from the nervous look on Seumas’ “unwilling” face, there was patently no reasonable expectation of privacy. The press haters will have to suck it up – any regulator or judge would throw out a complaint in about five minutes…

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