Last week, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal said that the UK spy agency hadn't spied on Amnesty — this week, they admitted that they had, and claimed they hadn't deliberately misled the organisation about the spying.
The Tribunal would not say why it spied on Amnesty, nor when, nor what they did with the information they gathered.
Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, marveled at the absurdity of the situation. The group had spent 18 months trying to determine which groups were surveilled, culminating in last week's ruling, she explained to The Intercept. And now, she said, it turns out there was "a mistake made in the numbering of the complaints." The mistake was apparently pointed out to the tribunal by GCHQ, she said. "Of course they sat on it for 10 days."
"Most important to us is that privacy matters. Privacy matters to us. It's harmed the trust that human rights defenders have in us," she said. "This has gone too far."
Naureen Shah, Director of Security and Human Rights for Amnesty International USA wrote in an email to The Intercept that her group is concerned that the U.K. "is sharing its collected intelligence from Amnesty with the US government, including communications from US citizens like me and/or communications about our documentation of human rights abuses committed by the US government."
British Tribunal Flip-Flops on Wrongful Surveillance of Amnesty International [Jenna McLaughlin/The Intercept]