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Last Updated: 30 Sep 2013

DA - Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Services & Special Services

  1. Information falling within the following categories is normally regarded as being highly classified. It is requested that such information, unless it has been the subject of an official announcement or has been widely disclosed or discussed, should not be published without first seeking advice:

    (a) specific covert operations, sources and methods of the Security Service, SIS and GCHQ, Defence Intelligence Units, Special Forces and those involved with them, the application of those methods*, including the interception of communications, and their targets; the same applies to those engaged on counter-terrorist operations;

    (b) the identities, whereabouts and tasks of people who are or have been employed by these services or engaged on such work, including details of their families and home addresses, and any other information, including photographs, which could assist terrorist or other hostile organisations to identify a target;

    (c) addresses and telephone numbers used by these services, except those now made public.
  2. Rationale. Identified staff from the intelligence and security services, others engaged on sensitive counter-terrorist operations, including the Special Forces, and those who are likely targets for attack are at real risk from terrorists. Security and intelligence operations contacts and techniques are easily compromised, and therefore need to be pursued in conditions of secrecy. Publicity about an operation which is in train finishes it. Publicity given even to an operation which has been completed, whether successfully or not, may well deny the opportunity for further exploitation of a capability, which may be unique against other hostile and illegal activity. The disclosure of identities can prejudice past, present and future operations. Even inaccurate speculation about the source of information on a given issue can put intelligence operations (and, in the worst cases, lives at risk and/or lead to the loss of information which is important in the interests of national security. Material which has been the subject of an official announcement is not covered by this notice.

* even when used by the National Crime Agency (NCA). This is intended purely to protect national security and not to inhibit normal reporting on law enforcement.