We didn’t let Coulson see anything sensitive except for the SIGINT

So Andy Coulson, famously, was subject to a background check by Control Risks before joining Downing St. There was some doubt as to whether he had actually gone through the positive vetting process. Supposedly he had, and he was cleared to see “Strap 1” material. But then it turned out in fact the DVA hadn’t finished the process when he quit and in fact the date he quit fits suspiciously well with the timetable.

OK, so what exactly is “Strap 1” material?

Well, the answer is “this”: a GCHQ program to “stain” jihadis’ computers so that they could be identified even if their IP addresses were obscured by multiple layers of network-address translation or indeed by TOR, revealed in the latest Snowdendump, is classified as UK Top Secret/Strap 1/COMINT.

The fact that it contains COMINT – communications intelligence – automatically flags it as being even more agonisingly secret, and subject to the inter-allied arrangements for the security of signals intelligence product.

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