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The head of the civil service is considering calling police in over leaks from parts of the government that deal with national security issues.

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, told MPs information is escaping from what he called "sensitive" areas, but he has so far not called police in.

"I'm trying to work out precisely whether it's serious enough," he said.

"There have been one or two [leaks] that I am worried about that have come from sensitive places. In themselves they haven't been national security issues but they have come from areas that deal with national security issues."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the worries concerned leaks some time ago.

News of the ongoing internal investigations was revealed on Thursday at a meeting of the Public Administration Select Committee. He did not specify which departments or agencies are involved in the inquiries.

MPs questioned Sir Gus over the controversial Home Office leak investigation that led to the arrest of Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green last November. He said the affair had raised the threshold for when civil servants would call in police.

The Cabinet Office, which called in police over the Damian Green leaks, claimed at the time they threatened national security. Subsequent inquiries found documents passed to him by Home Office official Christopher Galley were merely politically embarrassing to the government. ®

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