Feeds

ICO tells Cabinet Office to release Iraq docs

Cabinet Office: 'Meh'

High performance access to file storage

The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has told the Cabinet Office that it must release documents relating to Cabinet debates over the invasion of Iraq.

The order refers to discussions between 7 and 17 March 2003 when the Attorney General's advice on the legality of any invasion was discussed. This decision potentially goes against the convention of cabinet collective responsibility; the idea that once a Cabinet decision has been reached then all members will publicly defend that decision, regardless of whether they originally, privately, supported it or not.

But the ICO does not believe its decision in this case will set a precedent for other Cabinet minutes.

A statement from the Cabinet Office leaves open the possibility of appeal: "We have received the ICO decision notice which we are considering. The requirement for openess and transparency must be balanced against the proper and effective function of government. At the very heart of that system is the constitutional convention of collective Cabinet responsibility."

But the ICO decision makes clear that these arguments have been considered. The decision notes both "the importance of the Cabinet's ability to freely consider the most important and sensitive policy issues without inhibition", and "that protecting the convention of Cabinet collective responsibility is a strong factor in favour of witholding Cabinet minutes".

Both these considerations are outweighed by the public interest because of:

"The gravity and controversial nature of the subject matter, Accountability of government decisions, Transparency of decision making, Public participation in government decisions."

For all these reasons the ICO believes the Cabinet Office should release the documents. However the ICO does allow for the non-disclosure of "a number of specific references... likely to have a detrimental effect on international relations." These can be kept secret.

The full ICO decision notice is here (pdf). ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.