News / Europe

Report: UK Runs Secret Mideast Spy Station

Documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden show Britain has a secret Mideast spy station, according to a report in the Independent newspaper.
Documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden show Britain has a secret Mideast spy station, according to a report in the Independent newspaper.
Reuters
Britain runs a secret monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept large numbers of telephone calls, e-mails and Internet traffic that it shares with intelligence agencies in the United States, the Independent newspaper reported on Friday.

The station is part of a 1 billion pound ($1.56 billion) global eavesdropping project run by Britain to intercept digital communications, the paper said, citing leaked documents from former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden's leaks have sparked a global surveillance scandal that has pitted U.S. President Barack Obama against the Kremlin and prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron's advisers to demand the return of secrets from the Guardian newspaper.

The London-based Independent, which did not say how it obtained the information from the Snowden documents, said the British had tapped into the underwater fiber-optic cables which pass through the Middle East.

Britain's foreign ministry and a spokesman for Britain's eavesdropping agency GCHQ declined comment. Data gleaned from the monitoring station, whose exact location the Independent said it would not reveal, is then passed onto GCHQ in Cheltenham, England, and shared with the U.S. National Security Agency.

Snowden's leaks have embarrassed both Britain and the United States by laying bare the extent of their surveillance programs. London and Washington say their spies operate within the law and that the leaks have damaged national security.

Underwater cables

Western intelligence agencies rushed to improve their monitoring of Middle East traffic after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

A network of worldwide cables pass from Britain and the United States through the Mediterranean, running via the Suez canal linking India and the Far East, according to a map from fiber-optic cable providers, Alcatel-Lucent.

In the Middle East, underwater cables from the sea link into a number of points on land including Tel Aviv, Athens, Istanbul, Cyprus and several Egyptian cities.

Telecommunication links between countries were expanded during the British empire in an attempt to link its colonies.

Britain still has two areas of sovereign territory in Cyprus with a NATO military base in south east Turkey.

Britain's monitoring station in the Middle East was set up under former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who served in that post between 2007 and 2010, the Independent said.

The Guardian newspaper previously reported in May that GCHQ had tapped fiber-optic cables and shared personal data with the NSA under a project codenamed “Tempora.”

British police said on Thursday that documents seized from the partner of a Guardian journalist who has led coverage of Snowden's leaks were “highly sensitive,” and could put lives at risk if they fell into the wrong hands.

Counter-terrorism detectives said they had begun a criminal investigation after looking at material taken from David Miranda, partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, during his nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

Miranda, a Brazilian citizen who had been ferrying documents between Greenwald and a Berlin-based journalist contact of Snowden's, was held at Heathrow under anti-terrorism powers. He was released without charge minus his laptop, phone, a computer hard drive and memory sticks. He later left for Brazil.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid