Drones. No, not idle bees but those buzzy things that America uses to despatch those skulking beyond the reach of ground forces in lands where governance is poor or partial to terrorists. It seems that our government are concerned at our involvement. My learned friends are retained. The Americans would seem to be fireproof; they simply said it is not a crime to attack drone strikes against terrorist suspects overseas. That nice Mr Obama says it is 'in full accordance with the law'
There would seem little point in maintaining GCHQ if nothing is done with the information it plucks from the ether. We are allies with USA in the war on terror. There would seem no suggestion that we - the Brits - are in any way physically involved in drone attacks. If, for example I know that a gang of Asians are grooming very young girls for what amounts to prostitution, my proper course is to report this to the police. It is for them to take action. Or not.
So, with the simplicity of mind of the child who saw that the Emperor was naked, I would be perfectly happy to confirm that there were instances where we had followed the spirit of the war on terror and passed information to CIA or whoever. What they did with it was their business; we accepted it was their right to make their laws in their country. We did not issue or request that a drone be deployed; GCHQ was adding to any intelligence file maintained in and by a foreign ally.
Yes - it is a grey area. Evasion by us is not the answer here. There is clearly an agenda. The Pakistani lawyer involved in the current shindig is reported as saying "Once we find out if they do provide information then the debate will pass on to the killing of British Nationals" We should not take the worm of this fishing trip. The whole ethos of intelligence is that it be secret. The terrorists know very well that we have the capability and intent to tune into their telephones. They are wily enough to know what comes from this intelligence.
The question of fronting up is not just drones. We are drawn into rendition. My simple mind has an explanation for this also - render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. If it be ruled that information may not be passed to an ally them damn sure it will apply to bodies also. We must not take even one small step back in our war on terror. We are told that it is this war that is the reason our forces are being killed and maimed in Afghanistan. I cannot countenance anything which would prevent that war being furthered anywhere in the world. If GCHQ can find anyone suspected of being involved, then it is right that we pass that to add to the files.