"5.12pm: My colleague James Ball gives this run-down of the different levels of government security clearance. Alastair Campbell, press chief under Tony Blair, has confirmed, he was subject not just to "developed vetting" but to "strap", an even higher level.
Strap is a series of security precautions used for particularly sensitive information, and is sub-divided into three levels of access. Documents requiring this standard have a cover sheet which much be signed each time the document is accessed. Strap sits within developed vetting.
Developed vetting (DV)
Developed vetting is required for any officials with routine or unsupervised access to top secret material. To receive this level of clearance, applicants must complete a 53-page assessment form. This is then verified with a three-hour interview, and references are cross-checked. The process can be expedited to a few weeks, but can take up to six months.
Security check (SC)
This level of security clearance grants routine access to secret material, but only occasional supervised access to top secret documents. Applicants fill out a 29-page form, and are also subject to security and credit reference checks. The process typically takes just a few weeks, but can be completed faster.
Counter-terrorism check (CTC)
This is a basic security check given to people working in close proximity to public figures, or with access to low-level sensitive information. Applicants have their criminal records and other security information checked."
And now a letter from the Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Ivan Lewis-
"Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, has written to Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, about Andy Colulson. Among other things, Lewis asks O'Donnell who made the decision not to seek the highest-level security clearance for Coulson and why. Was this discussed with David Cameron? And how does Coulson's security clearance compare with that of his successor, Craig Oliver?
Here's the full text:
21 July 2011
Thank you for your letter of the 18th July.
In view of Prime Minister's statement yesterday, the Parliamentary debate and today's reports about Andy Coulson, I have a number of further questions which I would be grateful if you could answer.
1. Did the Deputy Prime Minister raise any concerns about Andy Coulson with you or other officials either before or during his period of employment as Director of Communications to the Prime Minister?
2. Did the Royal Household raise any concerns about Andy Coulson's appointment and role with you or other officials either before or during his period of employment as Director of Communications to the Prime Minister?
3. At anytime during Andy Coulson's employment did the Prime Minister or his special advisers relay any concerns or questions about Andy Coulson's conduct in previous employment to yourself or other officials?
4. Can you specify the steps you will take to ensure all records across government, including emails, that are communications from, to or about Andy Coulson are retained, and can be examined by the Leveson inquiry?
5. Were you, any of your officials or Number 10 special advisers or the PM, informed that the Metropolitan Police intended to begin Operation Weeting in advance of the police's announcement on 26th January 2011?
6. Did you issue any written or informal guidance making it clear that any information or allegations about Andy Coulson should not be relayed to the Prime Minister?
7. Can you confirm whether Neil Wallis or any of his companies have received payments from any Government department for work undertaken and whether Mr Wallis advised Andy Coulson while he was the Director of Communications to the Prime Minister.
In addition who made the decision not to seek highest level security clearance for Andy Coulson and for what reason? Was this discussed with the Prime Minister? How does Mr Coulson's security clearance compare with that of his successor.
Given today's reports it is now a matter of urgency that this information is put into the public domain otherwise it will fuel the belief that there was knowledge about Andy Coulson's involvement in illegal activities before he was employed.
I look forward to your reply.
Ivan Lewis MP
Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary"
And finally the curruption sticks to James M-
"6.47pm: James Murdoch's account to the Commons culture select committee about his involvement in agreeing the out-of-court settlement with Gordon Taylor was mistaken, according to a statement issued by former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former News international legal manager Tom Crone.
The statement says:
Just by way of clarification relating to Tuesday's CMS Select Committee hearing, we would like to point out that James Murdoch's recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken.
In fact, we did inform him of the "for Neville" email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor's lawyers."
James M where are you?-
"John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons select committee, has told my colleague Patrick Wintour that he will be recalling James Murdoch to explain the statement issued tonight by Colin Myler and Tom Crone.
We as a committee regarded the For Neville email as one of the most critical pieces of evidence in the whole inquiry. We will be asking James Murdoch to respond and ask him to clarify."
Just how this effects things I'm not sure, but combined this was a clear lie from James M and therefore leaves him more vulnerable over the other emails held by his lawyers, who he is pointing the finger at, whilst they did his dirty work. Not looking good for James M.
"James Murdoch: Last week—two weeks ago, I guess—the News of the World published its last paper. Mr Crone was very involved with News of the World matters over the years. The company believed and the management of the company believed that it was time to part ways. I was not involved in those direct discussions with Mr Crone, and I cannot comment on their nature or their content; I do not have knowledge of them