MPs charged with keeping the intelligence services in check are nor facing the "21st century reality of the security and intelligence services," a leading Labour MP said.
Alluding to John Le Carre's fictional Cold War spy George Smiley, Home Affairs Committee Chairman Keith Vaz MP said:
The current system of oversight is designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley not the 21st century reality of the security and intelligence services.
The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny.
It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in Parliament.
The Intelligence and Security Committee should be given a democratic mandate in the same way as other Select Committees.