Friday, August 23, 2013

Snowden leaks: UK operates secret Middle East web surveillance base

The UK has been working on a secret Middle East web surveillance base which is a part of a $1.5 billion project, a new report suggests. It intercepts and gathers emails, telephone calls, and web traffic for Western intelligence.
The secret internet-monitoring project is still a work in progress and is being organized by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), according to Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, as studied by The Independent.
The intelligence station can intercept data both by satellite and underwater fiber-optic cables that pass through the Middle East. The data will then be copied into large computer storage “buffers.” After that, it can be analyzed and passed on to CGHQ, where it later can be shared with the National Security Agency (NSA).
The UK argues that the base is central for the West’s war on terror and helps with early warningwhen it comes to possible attacks. It can also gain access to submarine cables passing through the region.
British intelligence sources maintain the base is used strictly to monitor “security, terror and organized crime.”
In its article, The Independent made clear that it was not revealing the exact location of the base. It did say that it received the information from the 50,000 top-secret GCHQ documents leaked by Snowden, many of which the whistleblower downloaded from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki in 2012.
The UK’s main concern is that the location of the secret Middle East web intelligence base will become known in the public domain, according to the newspaper. .................