UK spy chiefs to be quizzed in public for first time, on Snowden [View all]
Britain's intelligence chiefs will give their first ever public testimony on Thursday when they are cross-examined together in parliament about the case of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The evidence-gathering session comes amid calls for the government to step up oversight of its three main intelligence agencies after documents that Snowden leaked to the press exposed Britain's role in secret mass surveillance programs.
Those disclosures detailed Britain's close cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), embarrassing Prime Minister David Cameron and angering lawmakers in his ruling Conservative party who said they harmed national security.
The director of Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the head of the domestic security service MI5, and the chief of the foreign Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, will all attend Thursday's hearing, which will be televised, albeit with a short delay for security reasons.