ANTHONY GLEES: This is a security fiasco. We need an inquiry NOW


The hacking of Liz Truss’s personal phone is a security fiasco. We need an inquiry NOW, writes intelligence expert Professor ANTHONY GLEES

The implications are horrifying. We now know a foreign power hacked the personal mobile phone of the talkative Liz Truss. The severity of this security breach can hardly be overstated.

As a former prime minister, ex-foreign secretary and ex-international trade secretary, Miss Truss was the chief custodian of our national security secrets and the recipient of invaluable MI6 intelligence.

We need an immediate judicial inquiry, led by a High Court judge, to establish how this happened, who was responsible and precisely what information was compromised.

Truss was in charge of delivering national security: The most sacred duty of any government.

ANTHONY GLEES: The implications are horrifying. We now know a foreign power hacked the personal mobile phone of the talkative Liz Truss (pictured on October 1, 2021)

ANTHONY GLEES: The implications are horrifying. We now know a foreign power hacked the personal mobile phone of the talkative Liz Truss (pictured on October 1, 2021)

We are deeply – and rightly – involved in a major war in our neighbourhood, as the European leader of a western coalition against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Our closest allies’ trust in us will have been greatly threatened by this fiasco.

I believe Boris Johnson, who was prime minister at the time, should not have suppressed the news, although it is possible there were sound security reasons why this had to be done.

If the media had been able to report the story, Liz Truss would have had no choice but to resign. It goes without saying that her ambitions to lead the country would have been over.

The most likely culprits are the Russians – though we also cannot discount China, Iran, North Korea or, conceivably, Israel, which has invested vast sums into electronic surveillance.

Analysts at GCHQ are trying to work out who hacked her, and how much damage has been done.

I suspect the Kremlin, not just because Britain – and especially under Boris – has been such an influential ally to Ukraine, but because of the way Liz Truss was treated in Moscow last February, when she met Russian foreign secretary Sergey Lavrov.

The most likely culprits are the Russians – though we also cannot discount China, Iran, North Korea or, conceivably, Israel, which has invested vast sums into electronic surveillance

The most likely culprits are the Russians – though we also cannot discount China, Iran, North Korea or, conceivably, Israel, which has invested vast sums into electronic surveillance

The rudeness and disdain shown to her during that visit might have stemmed from the fact that Lavrov perhaps knew almost as much about Truss as she knew herself.

It’s almost impossible to overestimate how much private information, and how many government secrets, might have been betrayed. The hackers could read her emails and WhatsApp messages and listen to her phone calls, of course.

But the latest surveillance software is far more sophisticated than that.

Even when a phone is switched off, a spy operator can switch it back on again and activate the microphone. This enables the phone to be used as a listening device. It is conceivable that the camera was used, too. Certainly, the phone’s GPS device would have transmitted her location at all times – a chilling threat to her personal security.

Cabinet ministers are not supposed to take their personal phones into No10, the Foreign Office or other sensitive zones. We don’t know if Liz Truss complied with this rule – another reason why a judicial inquiry is imperative.

We do know she routinely used her personal phone instead of her government-issued device, which has much more robust anti-hacking protection. Now we need to find out the true cost of this behaviour.

Professor Anthony Glees is a security and intelligence expert at the University of Buckingham.



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