US Bases and Surveillance

‘Nothing is beyond our reach’: Evil octopus strangling the world becomes latest US intelligence seal


Billions of dollars annually are being used to fund operations conducted by the United States intelligence community, the likes of which allow the government to eavesdrop on emails, listen to world leaders’ phone calls and about everything in-between.One thing that budget hasn’t bought, however, is subtlety. The US National Reconnaissance Office launched a top-secret surveillance satellite into space Thursday evening, and the official emblem for the spy agency’s latest mission is, well, certainly accurate, to say the least. …

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This is an excellent resource with comprehensive information about the NSA and their agencies and some of the documents released by Edward Snowden.

Statewatch Observatory: EU-UK-USA: Data surveillance

US ‘used its Yorkshire base to spy on Merkel’

RAF Menwith Hill, run by NSA, is the biggest surveillance facility in Europe
Claims by US whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe dragged Britain into scandal
Base works closely with Britain’s own top-secret listening station, GCHQ

The Daily Mail – By Caroline Graham and Robert Verkaik – October 27, 2013

The United States used a British spy base to listen in on the phone calls of Angela Merkel and 35 other world leaders, it was claimed last night.

RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, which is run by America’s National Security Agency (NSA), is the biggest surveillance and interception facility in Europe.

The base analyses satellite signals as well as mobile phone and electronic data from private individuals, governments and corporations.

Last week it was reported that American spies had been listening in on the phone conversations of dozens of world leaders.

The allegations led Mrs Merkel to call Barack Obama and ask him to account for his agents’ actions.

Now fresh claims by US whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe, who worked for the NSA for 30 years, have dragged Britain into the scandal.

Mr Wiebe believes US agents used the base to intercept the German leader’s phone calls – with the full knowledge of British officials.

He told The Mail on Sunday it was likely agents at Menwith Hill ‘either directly collected the data or would have processed data’ from the bugged calls before sending the information back to Washington.

Mr Wiebe, who left the NSA in 2001 over fears it was illegally gathering ‘huge swathes’ of electronic data from citizens in the US and globally, said: ‘If the information didn’t come from there, it is almost a certainty that it would have been processed there.’

He added: ‘Everything goes through there to be analysed before the information is sent back to Washington.’

Menwith Hill, which has 33 distinctive golf ball-shaped ‘radomes’ to house satellite dishes, was effectively handed over to the Americans in the 1950s in recognition of the important intelligence-sharing relationship between the two countries. The base works closely with Britain’s own top-secret listening station, GCHQ in Cheltenham. …

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Did Conservative MP Julian Smith endanger national security?

Politician who claims Guardian endangered lives with NSA spying leaks shows photo of staff at high-security base in UK

The Guardian – By Matthew Taylor and Nick Hopkins – October 25, 2013

A Conservative MP who claimed the Guardian had endangered national security with its reporting of top secret intelligence files has a picture on his official website of him posing with staff from the high-security US base in North Yorkshire, Menwith Hill.

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, raised concerns about the Guardian’s coverage of the US National Security Agency files, leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, in a House of Commons debate on Tuesday. He wrongly claimed it had distributed information about British intelligence agents and called for the Guardian to be prosecuted.

“To communicate, not just publish, any identifying information about GCHQ personnel is a terrorist offence,” he told MPs.

However, on his website, he has publicly identified staff from the high-security US base, publishing a picture of himself posing with more than 30 people outside the House of Commons. The caption reads: “Julian has welcomed a group of around 40 people from RAF Menwith Hill to Westminster.” The picture is also on Smith’s Facebook page where it states: “Enjoyed meeting members of the British-American group from RAF Menwith Hill”.

The Guardian has republished the picture, pixelating the faces of everyone except the MP to ensure there is no threat to national security. …

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