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Justice and Security Act 2013

Publication of information received in private

44.The ISC (either as a committee of Parliament with a right to determine its own procedure, or simply by virtue of being a body of persons) may have a general (implied) power to publish information. Such a power sits alongside its express power to publish reports to Parliament as set out in section 3. Such a general power would undermine other safeguards for protection of sensitive information in the Act. Paragraph 6 provides that the ISC may not publish material that it receives in private in connection with the exercise of its functions, other than through its reports, and may not disclose the information to any person if the ISC considers that there is a risk that the person will publish it.

45.These protections are subject to exceptions, contained in sub-paragraph (3), permitting publication or disclosure of such material: if it has already been placed in the public domain; wherever publication is necessary to meet a legal requirement; and where both the Prime Minister and the Committee are satisfied that publication or disclosure would not prejudice the continued discharge of the functions of the Agencies or other government security and intelligence bodies. This last exception reflects the criterion on the basis of which the Prime Minister may require that the ISC exclude material from their reports to Parliament (see section 3(4)).

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