Lack of Intelligence 123

I am astonished that still none of our pusillanimous media has published the simple fact that NSA and GCHQ share ALL intelligence reports with each other. Every member of the House of Commons who has ever been in the most junior ministerial position knows this – that amounts to hundreds. So do at least fifty thousand current or retired civil service and military personnel. So do the majority of senior journalists. Yet Hague was allowed to talk round the subject without being challenged about the truth, and the fiction of official secrecy persists.

The Guardian almost published the truth:

“It has been suggested GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the UK. I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless. Any data obtained by us from the US involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”

This is the nub of the issue and the foreign secretary’s statement seems to mask a much more complex picture. If a UK agency wanted to tap the phone of a Briton living in the UK, it would have to get ministerial approval through RIPA. But not all telecoms and internet companies are based in the UK – most of the giants have their headquarters in the US. This is where the UK’s relationship with the NSA is critical. If the firm storing the required information is outside RIPA’s authority, GCHQ could ask the NSA for help.

And if the NSA had any relevant intelligence, via Prism or any other programme, it could give it to GCHQ. Strictly speaking, GCHQ would still have needed a RIPA authorisation if it was requesting this material. But if the NSA was offering, the same principles don’t appear to apply.

Matthew Ryder QC said: “It is not the breaking of laws that is most troubling in this area, but the absence of them. Foreigners storing their personal data on US servers have neither the protection that their own domestic laws would give them from their own governments, nor the protection that US citizens have from the US government. It is foreigners, potentially UK citizens in the UK, who are the targets of programmes like Prism.

“Once such data is in the hands of the US authorities, there is no clear legal framework that prevents it from being shared with UK authorities. The Security Service Act 1989 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994 place MI5, MI6 and GCHQ on a statutory basis, and permit those bodies to receive any information from foreign agencies in the ‘proper discharge’ of their statutory functions.

“Under that broad principle, UK agencies may receive and examine data from the US about UK citizens without having to comply with any of the legal requirements they would have to meet if the same agencies had tried to gather that information themselves.”

In fact GCHQ do not have to ask, and NSA do not have specifically to initiate. US citizens are included in the UK Prism operation, and UK citizens are included in the US Prism operation, and the swapping of resulting intelligence reports is an automatic process. So the UK takes the view it is not breaching the guidelines about spying on its own citizens as it is not REQUESTING the NSA to do anything, and vice versa.

It is precisely analogous to our receipt of intelligence from torture, which I was told as Ambassador was perfectly legal as long as we don’t request that the individual be tortured.

123 thoughts on “Lack of Intelligence

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  • Fred

    “This also answers a lot of questions regarding the Israeli frequently bragged about ‘Samson’ option, mainly how on Earth can Israel wipe out Western Europe when it has no appropriate missile capability?”

    They have the capability, they have Dolphin class submarines.

  • OldMark

    ‘Every member of the House of Commons who has ever been in the most junior ministerial position knows this – that amounts to hundreds. So do at least fifty thousand current or retired civil service and military personnel. So do the majority of senior journalists.’

    The extent to which the political establishment indulges in such doublethink on ‘security’ issues is always revealing. Keep rubbing their noses in it Craig.

    O/T but another nightmarish, Orwellian scenario is revealed in this report-

  • BrianFujisan

    Fred They OWN The USA ..and fucking everything else…But you already know that…

    Chossudovsky: We’ve known from day one that Israel has supported al-Qaeda. And we also know that Israel has channeled weapons and logistic support to the rebels in the areas surrounding the occupied areas of the Golan Heights. And in fact Israel even established a hospital facility for the al-Qaeda rebels and was busing them back and forth, taking the wounded to the hospital and then sending them back to the war theatre.

  • oddie

    with both major UK political parties at Bilderberg in Watford last week – and Republican Boehner calling Snowden a traitor today – it is evident fascism is alive & well. the institution of democratic politics has been corrupted & needs to be cleaned up.

    Snowden highlights links between private sector and spies
    Booz Allen, along with General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, have generated millions in revenues from cybersecurity contracts
    with the US government.

    (Republican) Boehner calls NSA leaker Snowden ‘a traitor’
    Former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul applauded Snowden’s efforts, saying that the NSA leak has forced the president to be even more transparent with Americans.
    “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk,” said Paul in a statement on the Web site of Campaign for Liberty, his nonprofit. “They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”
    “For somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort,” Paul said to CNN’s Piers Morgan Monday.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Should have hit Refresh.”

    You must be jacked-in to American politics, Dreolin. McClain is as disconnected as Obama is, to his base. That makes them co-equals, I think.


    ” Boehner calls NSA leaker Snowden ‘a traitor’”

    Isn’t everyone who doesn’t swallow the Flounder whole?

  • guano


    It’s no good quoting trash from Press TV and Global Research to prove a point. Just because Israel controls the US and UK doesn’t mean it doesn’t control Russia and China. How? B A N K S. Just because it uses Iranian soldiers to defend Assad doesn’t mean it doesn’t support Al Qaida. How? First you have to work out why Zionism thinks it can get the better of God. If somebody thinks they can deceive God, they should have worked out how to deceive humans.
    Anyway interviews can be chopped and changed to mean what editors like.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Prism & Putin

    “..nothing we didn’t know before” -surveillance is becoming a global phenomenon in the context of combating international terrorism; such methods are generally practicable, the question is how well those security agencies are controlled by the public.”

    “I can tell you that, at least in Russia, you cannot just go and tap into someone’s phone conversation without a warrant issued by court.”

    “That’s more or less the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism with modern-day technology. As long as it is exercised within the boundaries of the law that regulates intelligence activities, it’s alright. But if it’s unlawful, then it’s bad.”

    “Our Western counterparts often tell us that the Al-Nusra is one of the key organizations in the Syrian military opposition. But it has been dubbed terrorist by the US Department of State, and it doesn’t even hide its links to Al-Qaeda. So will you let this organization join the future government of Syria? Our Western counterparts say no. Are you going to just make them go away once you have victory in Syria? They don’t know. It’s totally unclear.”

    “What do you have there now? There is a war of everybody against everybody among various tribes, there is war for resources, and, I’m afraid, if we go the same way in Syria, there will be same havoc in Syria that we’re now witnessing in Libya.”

    “Isn’t that enough from what we’re seeing in Pakistan and Afghanistan right now, where there’re terrorists that are not controlled by anyone, except for terrorists?”

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Mark; i would love some more links from you. (as do you, Irish Rose Dreoilin) they are treasures we can access nearly forever as we need.

    God Bless all ye of good intentions.

  • Richard

    I can’t sign this, but I’d urge my American friends to do so. It calls for a pre-emptive Pardon for Edward Snowden, the Patriot who blew the whistle on the NSA, and a man who should not have to forego his country as a consequence of his love for his country:

    The EFF rebuts the argument “it’s only metadata, we’re not recording the content”:

    Here’s an explanation of how the British could have pre-emptively apprehended Paul Revere using the simplest of metadata:

    Benjamin Franklin was right: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In other words, to build the system that claims to keep us safe from terrorism is to create the system that will one-day perpetuate a tyranny.
    Democracy only works if, there is a practical mechanism for the people to excercise their right to alter or to abolish a government that becomes destructive of the ends for which it was elected: empowering a secret police to monitor for dissent and impose prior restraint does not seem wise.

  • Flaming June

    Google and co are attempting to disassociate themselves from the stench.

    U.S. tech firms push for govt transparency on security
    By Gerry Shih and Bill Rigby Reuters – 2 hours 24 minutes ago…

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Three of the largest U.S. Internet companies called on the U.S. government to provide greater transparency on national security requests on Tuesday, as they sought to distance themselves from reports that portrayed the companies as willing partners in supplying mass user data to security agencies.

    Google Inc was the first to go public, releasing an open letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice for permission to disclose the number and scope of data requests each receives from security agencies, including confidential requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc soon followed with similarly worded statements in support of Google.


  • Jay

    Does it matter how many thumbs get stuck in the pie, when the pie is far too crusty;

  • ToivoS

    flaming june I think you have hit on a key point. Google and the other big US internet companies are right now in a panic mode. They have been collecting information on email and internet users for American intelligence agencies for a number of years now. This is directly related to Craig’s point leading into this thread: US intelligence has been spying on British and European telecommunication networks for at least 8 years using the massive computer networks in Fort Meade, Maryland. Since it is illegal for British and European countries to spy on themselves, the US provides them with the information.

    The people of Britain and Europe are now beginning to realize that they are subjects of massive spying. And it is all coming from the US and no local laws are being violated. For sure you must know that it is not illegal for the US to spy on Britain and Europe. Nor is it illegal for the US to pass on their intelligence to British and European agencies. And the big foot in the door that us Americans have (excuse me, I am writing from the US) is that Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are all American companies (not just American but located in just two counties on the SF peninsula in Northern California).

    It is so impressive how Europe is so willing to come under US dominion and surveillance. You do know how it is done don’t you? Once your various PMs and whatever titles retire they are hired into US multinational corporations. Major and Blair are worth $100 s of millions for their service to the US as you must know.

    It will be interesting to see if any of you guys can come to your senses and mount a realistic campaign against what us Americans are doing to you.

  • Flaming June

    Has this info reached this blog yet?

    IDF Unit 8200 Cyberwar Veterans Developed NSA Snooping Technology

    by Richard Silverstein on June 8, 2013

    A little known footnote to the brewing PRISM scandal, in which the NSA has for years harvested Americans’ personal data via eight of the largest social media and technology companies in the world, involves special technology developed by two Israeli companies founded by veterans of the IDF’s cyber-warfare Unit 8200:

    If America’s tech giants didn’t ‘participate knowingly’ in the dragnet of electronic communication, how does the NSA get all of their data?

    One theory: the NSA hired two secretive Israeli companies to wiretap the U.S. telecommunications network.

    Verint and Narus created programs which offered the NSA backdoors to all the major U.S. telecommuications and technology companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Google. That’s how the companies could deny that they explicitly knew or approved of PRISM’s harvesting their data:


  • Flaming June

    Yes it had. Missed seeing Jonangus’s posts.

    Ref Facebook, this is how our MPs spend their time at the HoC. That is when they are actually there and not on holiday.

    How MPs racked up 3m Facebook hits: Figures show they waste thousands of hours on social networks and betting sites
    Records show computers on Parliamentary estate accessed Facebook 400 times as often as BBC News website
    Online games and betting sites also clocked up thousands of visits

    By Jason Groves, Political Correspondent

    12 June 2013

  • Abe Rene

    @John Goss “The photographs..shows US military personnel sexual abusing..before doing what the US does best to Muslims – killing them.”

    These are shocking crimes and the people responsible need to be brought to justice. I object to the last phrase as a blanket characterisation of a whole country. But it illustrates the reason why all the photos weren’t released, namely that they would inflame anti-Americanism.

  • John Goss

    Brian Fujisan at 11.52 last night. McCain is the truthful, naive and disgusting voice of the US government’s hidden agenda. He makes the point that Hong Kong, being a small protectorate of China with some autonomy and a strategic port it would be useful to US aims (he did not say world domination but everyone knows what he meant), and with all the residents speaking English it would be easy to bomb it and take over and soon they would come round to seeing how good the Yankie way of life is. “In time Hong Kongers will come to love our rule – just like the Hawaiians, the Filipinos and the Afghans.”

    You would not want to step on a lump of shit like McCain. The stench would never go away.

  • John Goss

    Abe Rene, you do right to object to it being a “blanket characterisation of the whole country”. I agree all Americans are not like those unspeakable US military personnel who raped and killed children in Iraq. Sometimes we do make generalisations when we have been upset by what we have seen but I did not mean to include all Americans, some of whom are my friends. In fact I write for a US online magazine and would not want to include in my generalisation good people who are trying to put right what is wrong with a great country that gave Americans the Bill of Rights, just those who abuse that gift to mankind.

  • John Goss

    ToivoS. Well said. Most people commenting on this blog have not been blind to what is going on, though a few would like to blind us.

  • Truth Is Free

    “They have the capability, they have Dolphin class submarines.”

    They have only had those subs for 14 years and only had missile capability since 2005.

    Are people so wilfully ignorant or do they just like dishing out disinfo for their masters? So, what about Gladio? What about the nukes in Europe’s capitals? What about false flag terrorism? That’s all true but the Israeli bit is a lie? Pathetic.

    The Samson Option capability, i.e. the threat to destroy Western Europe, was first openly publicised by Israel in the early 70s – 40 years ago. So, according to you they’re just great big liars and the reason every nation kow-tows to them is because they really are Gods chosen people? A bit of a contradiction isn’t it?

    It’ nice to see that you tacitly acknowledge that Israel is a nuclear threat to Western Europe however, now look at their national character and take it to the logical conclusion based on the PUBLISHED information available. Naive morons can go and stick your collective heads back in the sand on this one, or even join with the gatekeepers of the conspiracy to enslave humanity.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I will not pity any of you in the future.

  • Fred

    “The Samson Option capability, i.e. the threat to destroy Western Europe”

    Samson brought down the temple on his own head in order to kill his enemies. I think what it means is if they couldn’t have Palestine nobody else would get it either.

  • Flaming June

    There was an excellent ending to Richard Silverstein’s blog post about Varint and Narus.

    ‘To which I say: if you want a society like Israel’s obsessed with national security and willing to pay any price for it, then don’t object to PRISM or the wholesale harvesting of virtually everything personal you might have (except your thoughts, which they haven’t figured out how to harvest yet). If this is not your vision of what society should be, then yell your head off.’

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