The tribunal, which hears complaints about intelligence agencies, ruled that UK intelligence officers may grant their agents and informants the right to commit crimes, if it serves the national interest. The decision was passed with a small majority, underscoring the sensitivity of the issue.
A secret MI5 policy, which allows intelligence agents and informants to commit serious crimes, was ruled lawful by the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in a 3-2 ruling, The Guardian reported Friday.
According to the tribunal, a UK intelligence bureau has “an implied power” to allow crimes under the Security Service Act. The 56-page ruling says the policy does not breach human rights and it does not grant absolute immunity to those who commit crimes – including murder or torture.
“The [European] convention [of human] rights issues do not arise as a matter of substance in this challenge to the policy of the security service […] The events of recent years, for example in Manchester and London in 2017, serve vividly to underline the need for such intelligence-gathering and other activities in order to protect the public from serious terrorist threats,” the majority decision noted, according to The Guardian.
The ruling comes a year after the UK government confirmed the existence of a previously secret policy, known as the “Third Direction,” BBC reported.
The document that enables the policy was signed by former…