“Britain’s FBI” has ordered a powerful committee of MPs to take extraordinary security measures to protect the identities of blue-chip organisations that hired criminal private investigators.
The head of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has told the Home Affairs Select Committee he will only share a list of companies that hired corrupt PIs to hack, blag and steal private information to further their commercial interests if they agree to a series of specific prescriptions.
Trevor Pearce, the agency’s Director-General, said: “Soca requirements in respect of the storage of confidential material is that it is kept in a safe in a locked room, within a secure building and that the document should not be left unattended.”
The sensitive material has been “formally classified” since The Independent last month exposed that the commissioning of illegal hacking went beyond the newspaper industry. Soca chairman Sir Ian Andrews told Parliament that publishing the information could breach the companies’ human rights and “undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with... criminality”.