The CCTV camera that filmed
The Whitehall probe into how the footage was leaked will also look into why it was pointed at the office door Mr Hancock was passionately kissing Gina Coladangelo against on May 6.
Security expert David Videcette, a former Scotland Yard detective, says the camera would have been there to watch the former health secretary’s 9th floor balcony, which also contained his fire exit.
But Mr Videcette believes ‘someone repurposed the camera’, raising the prospect that it was either physically or remotely turned 180 degrees towards the door where the colleagues were caught kissing.
He tweeted: ‘The CCTV camera that caught Matt Hancock kissing in his office was there to monitor a balcony & should have been pointing in opposite direction.
‘The decisions to use this space as his office have been idiotic. But the point here is this – someone repurposed the camera’. He added: ‘The implications of that from a security point of view is huge.’
It raises the prospect that someone may have known that the lovers canoodled against the office door and turned the camera to get the evidence that saw Mr Hancock leave his job and his wife on Saturday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock under the office camera (circled) that caught him in a clinch with his aide – but security experts fear it was tampered with and turned towards the door
The CCTV camera was operated by the Department of Health, adding that responsibility for security was down to the department, which was led by Mr Hancock until his resignation
Security expert David Videcette, a former Scotland Yard detective, says the camera would have been there to watch the former health secretary’s 9th floor balcony (pictured), which also contained his fire exit
After allowing a month to elapse, the whistleblower approached lockdown sceptics and asked them to help sell the incendiary footage to the media
A Department of Health and Social Care investigation will now consider if the camera was swivelled around, and if so, who did it.
Documents seen by The Daily Telegraph say a Scotland Yard security review said that a CCTV camera in his office should have a ‘limited field of vision’ to ‘ensure privacy’.
It says: ‘The building has several balconies and terraces and it is proposed these will also need to be covered by security cameras.’
And a source told the newspaper that on two occasions Mr Hancock has had work done to extend his office, including expanding into an anteroom at the end of 2020, which will be looked at by the Whitehall probe launched yesterday.
Sources familiar with the ninth-floor office in Victoria Street in central London say alterations were carried out twice while Mr Hancock was health secretary, once to carve out the ante room from his office and then to extend the anteroom towards the end of last year.
Sajid Javid has taken over the office, and has had the CCTV camera above the meeting table taped up and disabled. Many have questioned why a camera is above a cabinet minister’s table in the first place.
The sting that brought down Matt Hancock was executed by a whistleblower in his department who contacted opponents of the Health Secretary’s stance on lockdown to help expose his affair. The clinch took place around this corner (bottom right part of image). The camera in question can be seen on the ceiling (top right-hand corner)
Mr Videcette called the camera’s location ‘ridiculous’ but believes that it was used by someone to target Mr Hancock before his affair emerged
It came as Mr
Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez admitted the device was ‘not covert’, dismissing theories that a rogue member of staff or security guard had planted a recording device to capture the former health secretary’s affair with Gina Coladangelo.
It came as reviews were launched in both the Department of Health and Social Care and in Parliament into the leak of the compromising footage to a national newspaper.
Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez, pictured, admitted the device was ‘not covert’, dismissing theories that a rogue member of staff or security guard had planted a recording device
Ministers’ offices are now being swept for bugs and hidden cameras. Mrs Lopez told MPs that the camera in Mr Hancock’s office was an ‘outlier’ and that it was not general policy for recording devices to be put in ministerial offices.
But she confirmed it was a CCTV camera operated by the Department of Health, adding that responsibility for security was down to the department, which was led by Mr Hancock until his resignation.
The Mail understands that security arrangements had been outsourced to a private contractor. But the House of Commons was told that ministers’ offices are regularly swept for bugs, with some dealing with important issues of national security being checked more often on a ‘risk-based assessment’.
Thanks to its central role administering the vaccine during the pandemic, the Department of Health is likely to have been among those checked regularly. She said: ‘We do not believe there are covert concerns at this moment.’
Mr Hancock resigned as Health Secretary less than 48 hours after pictures emerged of him in a passionate embrace with Gina Coladangelo, pictured together above
But her response exasperated incredulous MPs, with Labour’s Chris Bryant saying: ‘Something really doesn’t add up here… The secretary of state knew it was there. And yet, we’ve all seen the video. If that’s true, he must be the stupidest man on Earth.
‘Is [Mrs Lopez] really trying to persuade us that he knew there was a camera in his office?’
Officials are scrambling to identify and switch off any CCTV cameras with a view of ministerial offices. The Department of Health is carrying out an investigation, which is being supported by Whitehall security specialists from the Government Security Group based at the Cabinet Office. MI5 will be consulted by the Office in the leak inquiry if the disclosure poses a threat to national security.
Yesterday, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle announced a second review in Parliament, saying: ‘I have directed senior officials to consider what implications there are for security arrangements in the House given recent events in Whitehall and take any necessary steps with urgency.’
Earlier, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News he had asked for his office to be searched. He said: ‘I’ve never seen any camera facilities. I know there is CCTV in the building… but I am sure that many of my colleagues will be asking the same question and making sure that the offices are swept.’
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