Isn’t it odd that arrangements can be made to leak images of an embarrassing Cabinet minister in a compromising situation – but it’s impossible to find the culprit(s)?
Someone apparently used a mobile phone to take images of then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing his long-time friend and then-aide Gina Coladangelo, from CCTV camera images taken at the Department of Health on May 6, 2021.
It has been alleged that the camera had to be moved in order to be able to take the image, although it would be beyond This Writer’s powers to secure proof of whether that was true.
The images were handed to The Sun the following month and Hancock resigned as Health Secretary on June 27. He subsequently separated from his wife, with whom he has three children, and moved in with Ms Coladangelo.
It was one of those instances in which the end justified the means; Hancock was a disgrace as Health Secretary, presiding over many tens of thousands of preventable Covid-19 deaths because he was more interested in handing huge contracts to Tory cronies for equipment they were never going to supply. And did the government ever get any of that money back?
But it is also true that someone breached the security of a government department, and it was right that a criminal investigation should have been launched – although I question why the Information Commissioner’s Office carried it out and not the police.
Logically, the location of the security office to which the CCTV cameras feed was sent would have been known. And the names of personnel staffing that office would also have been known. So only a small number of people could have been suspects.
I wonder whether they were employed by a private security firm? If so, that’s another black mark against the privatisation that the Tories love so much.
The ICO said checks of mobile phones owned by the suspects revealed no evidence of relevant CCTV footage. Did they contain other footage, then? What are these security people doing with images taken from cameras – and is taking images off camera footage a widespread practice?
This Writer’s experience suggests law enforcement agencies are able to find evidence, even if it has been erased from a mobile phone’s memory, so I wonder whether any of the suspects had a new phone? Wouldn’t that be suspicious? It’s possible the phone used to take the image(s) was left with The Sun, isn’t it?
It seems there were a few avenues of investigation to explore – but it also seems that the political will to find the culprits simply wasn’t there.
Maybe I’m doing the ICO a disservice. Maybe we simply haven’t been told about every stage of the investigation.
Or maybe those responsible for leaking the image(s) served their purpose and that’s why they have been able to disappear without a trace? Nothing would surprise This Writer, as far as Boris Johnson’s government is concerned.
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