GCHQ could be affecting serious criminal offence in giving information in future
NOOR Khan, 27, of Pakistan, whose father was killed by a strike from an unmanned aircraft, is seeking to have the sharing of UK locational intelligence declared unlawful.
If the case is won, any GCHQ official who passed locational intelligence to the CIA, knowing or believing that it could be used to facilitate a drone strike, would be committing a serious criminal offence.
Martin Chamberlain, counsel for Khan, said that a newspaper article in 2010 reported that GCHQ was using telephone intercepts to provide the US authorities with locational intelligence on leading militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The article suggested that the Cheltenham agency was proud of the work, which was "in strict accordance with the law".
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On the contrary, Chamberlain said: "The participation of a UK intelligence official in US drone strikes, by passing intelligence, may amount to the offence of encouraging or assisting murder."
Chamberlain said that no GCHQ official would be able to mount a defence of combat immunity, but added he did not wish to convict individuals but was seeking a declaration by the civil courts that such intelligence-sharing was unlawful.
The case opened as the RAF confirmed it was to double the number of its drones flying combat and surveillance operations over Afghanistan.