BBC broadcast on MI5 spies would create real risk of harm, court says

A BBC broadcast would compromise national security and create “a real and immediate risk of serious damage or life-threatening damage” to an alleged MI5 agent if they determined identified him, the Supreme Court heard.

His broadcaster wanted to air a report identifying a “dangerous extremist and misogynist” as an MI5 agent, and argued that his identity was revealed because community profit.

The proposed report would claim the man, identified in the proceedings as “X”, used his status as an agent to abuse, control and coerce an ex-partner, known by the nicknames “Beth” and MI5 either knew or ought to have known about this and it would be wrong to use him as an agent.

Attorney General Suella Braverman is seeking an order to block the broadcast, arguing that there is no public interest in determining his identity, which would outweigh the risk to the man’s life and affect national security.

Mr Justice Chamberlain is considering the case at a two-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London which begins on Tuesday.


Attorney General Suella Braverman (James Manning/PA)

Lawyers representing Ms Braverman say she “does not confirm or deny” the BBC’s claims that X is a spy, or secret human intelligence source (Chis), but is conducting an investigation. bare on the “presumptive assumption” that he is or was.

In written arguments in court, Sir James Eadie QC, for the Attorney General, said: “The release of the report would constitute a breach of trust/false trust by the BBC.

“Doing so would harm national security and the public interest. It will also create a risk of serious or life-threatening damage to X.

“Those effects establish the strongest public interest in restricting publication.

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“There is no public interest in publication that can be said to supersede those interests.”

The case of X’s lapse and subsequent speculation that MI5 must have been aware of it and not reacted appropriately, on the basis of anything but solid.Sir James Eadie QC

Attorneys say there are “pathways to complaints and investigations” related to any allegations against MI5, which have been set up “precisely to avoid the kind of damage to the public interest that the report proposes.” BBC’s will create”.

He argued that identifying X as an MI5 agent was “obviously secret” information.

Sir James also said the “most serious” charges against X had been investigated by police and no further action was “considered appropriate to take”.

He added: “The case of X’s malpractice, and the subsequent speculation that MI5 must have been aware of it and not reacted appropriately, is on the grounds of anything but solid.

“There is real doubt about Beth’s credibility, credibility, and motivation. Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) got involved but as a result no action was taken – in large part due to those suspicions.”

The Attorney General said there was no objection to a broadcast of allegations against X and MI5’s use of unidentified agents, but argued that identifying him would is a violation of X’s trust and human rights.

However, Sir James said the BBC was “not interested in creating an anonymous or diluted version” of the report.

The BBC says that airing the story and identifying X’s name is in the public interest and is opposing the filing of a ban.

Mr Justice Chamberlain gave some details of the case in a ruling last week.

He said the proposed program included “allegations that X was a dangerous extremist and misogynist who physically and psychologically abused two former female partners”.

It also includes allegations that X was Chis or an agent for the security service, that he told one of the women that he worked for MI5 “to terrorize and control her”, and MI5 “should have known about X’s behavior and realized that it was inappropriate to use him as a Chis,” the judge said.

There will be a closed procedure in which special advocates – attorneys are kept confidential – will represent the interests of the BBC, and an open part of the proceedings, some of which may be the press and the public attended.

Justice Chamberlain ordered at the outset of Tuesday’s hearing that the reporting of the open hearing be deferred to ensure that nothing was inadvertently revealed to the public, which should not be done.

When the judge makes his or her judgment on the order, there will be both an open ruling that will be made public and a secret one that will only be viewed by the Attorney General’s legal team and special advocates. BBC broadcast on MI5 spies would create real risk of harm, court says

Fry Electronics Team

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