According to a new report by The Guardian, the American government has paid “at least £100 million [$152 million] to the UK spy agency GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters] over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programs.”
The Guardian wrote on Thursday that Edward Snowden provided documents showing that the National Security Agency (NSA) paid around $152 million to its British sister spy agency, the GCHQ, since 2010. “GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight,” a GCHQ strategy briefing reportedly said.
Many intelligence community watchers have long suspected that British and American intelligence simply swap information as a way to skirt each other’s mandate to not spy on their own citizens domestically. The newspaper also said that the GCHQ has efforts underway to “exploit any phone, anywhere, any time,” and that “60 percent of all Britain’s refined intelligence appears to come from the NSA.”
This makes a strange kind of twisted sense. Pay other governments to spy on Americans when the NSA is prohibited itself.
It is against the law for the NSA to actively spy on Americans and listen in to their calls without a specific warrant. But our laws allow the NSA to spy on foreigners and listent into their phone calls.
Britain has similar law. So the way the NSA spies on us is to have the British spy on foreigners (who are us) and send the data to the NSA. We do the same for them.
The NSA can get access to American’s phone calls and still truthfully say that it does not spy on American’s. It just pays others to.