Hoax calls target PM and GCHQ boss

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Published: Monday 26th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A hoax caller who rang GCHQ just hours before a prank call was put through to the Prime Minister has claimed he was high on drink and drugs at the time, described the situation as “hilarious” and said he was going to do it again.

The call to Britain’s eavesdropping agency, during which a number for director Robert Hannigan was disclosed, was followed by a hoax call to Downing Street which saw the caller connected to David Cameron.

It is not known if the same person was behind both hoaxes, but the man claiming responsibility for the call to GCHQ rang the Sun newspaper to confess his actions.

“I’ve just made complete monkeys out of GCHQ. I’ve got the mobile number of the director,” he told the paper.

“What’s more, I am off my face on booze and cocaine.”

He added: “I’m definitely going to do it again. It was so easy.”

The paper reported that the man telephoned Mr Hannigan claiming to be an ITN journalist, but said the director was suspicious and ended the call.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron ended the call he received from someone claiming to be Mr Hannigan when it became clear it was a hoax and no sensitive information was disclosed.

Security procedures are being reviewed at both No 10 and GCHQ following the incidents.

It is understood that the mobile number given out for Mr Hannigan was for an unclassified phone rather than one of the secure lines used for sensitive communications.

The call to the Prime Minister was put through to Mr Cameron but the conversation was understood to have been “quite brief” before the hoax was discovered.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Following two hoax calls to Government departments, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on the alert for such calls.

“In the first instance, a call was made to GCHQ which resulted in the disclosure of a mobile phone number for the director.

“The mobile number provided is never used for calls involving classified information. In the second instance, a hoax caller claiming to be the GCHQ director was connected to the Prime Minister.

“The Prime Minister ended the call when it became clear it was a hoax. In neither instance was sensitive information disclosed.

“Both GCHQ and Number 10 take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures following these hoax calls to ensure that the Government learns any lessons from this incident.”

Published: Monday 26th January 2015 by The News Editor

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