UK: Intelligence and security annual report full of the usual *** (deleted text)

The annual report from the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee is, as usual,
uninformative with little detail and lots of "***" (deleted text).

The first *** deletion that catches the eye is in the "glossary" which lists all the agencies and
their acronym, for example, SIS = Secret Intelligence Service (the UK's overseas
intelligence agency). Between FCO = Foreign and Commonwealth Office and GCHQ =
Government Communications Headquarters there is: *** = ***. Suggestions as to the
identity of this secret agency/unit most welcome.

Some clues are given, in the section on GCHQ it says: "The Committee wishes to record
the significant contribution that *** makes to intelligence collection" (para 28 page 11)
which may be the same as the reference under "Information Technology" to "substantial
investment... in the case of GCHQ to *** the SIGINT process" (para 38 page 13). Or ***
may be the *** referred to in connection with IMINT (Imagery Intelligence).

The *** make parts of the report almost incomprehensible: "In 2001 the SIS allocated ***
of its effort to Counter-Terrorism; this has risen to *** in 2002 and will be *** in 2003",
which is odd as the allocation of the Security Service's (MI5) work is given as 61% for

The report notes the formation during the year of the "Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre"
(JTAC) and inter-departmental body to assess "intelligence in international terrorism". It is
comprised of MI5's Counter-Terrorism Analysis Centre, the SIS, GCHQ, DIS (Defence
Intelligence Staff), the police including Special Branch and the security division
(TRANSEC) of the Department of Transport.

Intelligence and Security Committee annual report: Cm 5837(pdf)


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