Sir Iain Lobban has responded to criticism that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has undermined democracy, freedom and gone over budget with anonymous workplace gifts. The televised Public Hearing was told that a ‘jolly office tradition’ had spiralled out of control to include the exchange of Perfume Flamethrowers, Exploding Alarm Clocks and Portable Gyrocopters.
Although 34 terror plots had been disrupted since 2005, there was an admission by MI6 chief Sir John Sawers that a ‘garrotte wire wristwatch’ was an ‘inappropriate’ gift for a work colleague. Leaks by ex-US security contractor Edward Snowden reveal that Secret Santa gifts within GCHQ often comprised of ‘poison-tipped shoe knives’, ‘Walther PPK’ cigarette lighters and ‘ejector seats’.
A spokesman for Sir Iain said: ‘We don’t want to delve into innocent emails and phone calls…we just can’t help it. This is a high pressure job and at Christmas staff need a little something to look forward to’. Although, the committee chairman (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) questioned whether the £2bn of taxpayer money could be better spent on something other than a subterranean lair complete ‘with shark tank’ and an ‘implausibly large’ conveyor belt, with shredder.