Not the fact that the woman in question was not Hancock’s wife. And that photo doesn’t mean that Hancock is violating his own government’s COVID rules. Which surprised his Westminster colleagues the most.
It’s an image from a security camera in Hancock’s office. And it seems he didn’t know it was filming him.
The security implications for this are huge and the opposition Labor Party has called for a review of security across state buildings.
Conor McGinn, Labour’s shadow security secretary, said: “This is not about Matt Hancock’s outspoken hypocrisy, but rather the enormous risk that could arise from the lax approach from the government to the security of the buildings of Labour. myself
“The government urgently needs to inspect all important buildings. Have intelligence agencies sweep them up for bugs and unauthorized surveillance cameras. and deal with speculation about private companies with links to China having access to Whitehall̵7;s inner sanctuary,” he added.
Whitehall is the main street that cuts through Westminster, where several government buildings are located. and the term is used colloquially to refer to the civil service of the United Kingdom.
For what it’s worth, Downing Street has made no official comment on the matter beyond saying it will have an internal review and guide it away from all speculation about foreign involvement.
Government officials suggested to CNN that the camera landing at the senior minister’s office was an error rather than a conspiracy. They point out the fact that the building is rented from private landlords. And cameras should be removed in 2017 when government agencies move.
However, the fact that any information from the inside that was supposed to be a secure office is taken out of the building and passed on to outsiders, in this case the media is a serious concern for those who know what’s going on within the government.
Former UK Brexit secretary David Davis said: “All kinds of meetings take place in the minister’s office. “You can arrange the papers on the table. You can give a briefing on national security.”
This hypersensitivity is far from hysterical. different types of conversation What happened in the official office of the eldest in the G7 country’s government is a very sensitive matter.
“It’s not just that camera that was in the first place that worried me,” the current government minister said. “It’s because we don’t have enough safeguards to stop malicious humans from leaking that information to newspapers. Replace the matter with subtle defense plans and newspapers with foreign opponents and you begin to understand why all ministers. said with a lot of concern.”
Davis explained that when he first took over as minister, One of his senior officials reminded him that now he “It is of interest to every intelligence agency in the world.”
In addition to national security and secrecy falling into the hands of Britain’s enemies. Hancock’s office has also hosted one of the minister’s most sensitive policy discussions in recent years due to the pandemic.
“Over the past year, Matt has invited people from across Parliament. from private industry scientific expert or as you call it Let’s talk privately about how to deal with the virus,” said a senior conservative source. “These conversations need to take place privately. Because if speaking in the chat with a leaked model showing the number of deaths in different situations, the public will be insulted.”
Data security concerns can also lead to terrifying consequences within governments.
Tim Durrant, deputy director of the Institute for Government Think Tank, said: “Governments need to be able to talk about things. personally to consider all options without political repercussions
“Abandoning a seemingly small idea can ultimately lead to poorer policy decisions. If ministers can’t be sure their conversations will remain secret It could have a detrimental effect on the government as a whole,” he added.
Fears of further security breaches in Westminster have not subsided.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News he had asked his department. “Wipe out in the event of any unauthorized equipment in it that could violate national security.”
Hancock’s successor, Sajid Javid, told reporters the offending cameras had been turned off.
Past and present ministers will tell you that. If you have an important job in government You are always at risk of being watched.
The Hancock story could have been a lot worse. The existence of the camera was a mistake. There is no suggestion that it was an intentional spying attempt. And the contents of the leak were of no national significance.
However, modern espionage often targets amateur weaknesses and mistakes. If the camera image is attacked by an enemy Hancock may be blackmailed.
Although this may focus on the personal lives of politicians. But this incident is an embarrassing reminder that leaks will always happen and people outside the government always want to see them. The UK may be grateful to the lucky stars that this time is trivial.