LONDON - Britain's international standing has been undermined by allegations that its spies colluded in torture, but reforms to remedy the damage should preserve the secrecy that espionage needs, the government said on Wednesday.
According to extracts from a speech released in advance by his office, UK Foreign Secretary (Minister) William Hague said he hoped a strengthening of outside scrutiny of the security services and an inquiry into reported abuse would contribute to "drawing a line under the past".
Hague, who oversees Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters intercept agency, said secrecy was vital to their "dangerous work."
"Many agents and sources risk their lives -- some lose their lives -- to give us the vital information to keep us safe. We have a duty to protect them," he said.