Leading article: Attempts to open up the security services are still worth making

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Yvette Cooper is far from the first to call for a brighter parliamentary light to be shone on the hidden world of Britain's secret services. Alas, nor is she likely to be the last.

Writing for The Independent today, the shadow Home Secretary proposes that the Intelligence and Security Committee be beefed up and given greater powers of review. Ms Cooper makes a powerful case, citing extraordinary rendition and the "dodgy dossier" on Iraq. And she is right that closer scrutiny does not necessarily undermine the state's power to act effectively and in secret.

The problem is that calls for greater oversight tend to be squashed by the combined weight of the security establishment, the Home Secretary, and unanswerable claims of national security. Ms Cooper is not wrong; but it is difficult to see how she might succeed where so many others have failed.

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