GCHQ collects millions of phone calls, texts and e-mails daily across Europe and sells to US – UK MP
"It has prostituted itself to the United States. The GCHQ at Cheltenham is doing most of the heavy lifting for the National Security Agency, in the illegal vacuuming of the spectrum, and is collecting uncountable scores of millions of telephone calls, texts and e-mails every day across Europe, and further beyond, as the fiber optics cross the British landmass, coming from the United States across the Atlantic and thence to Europe," George Galloway said.
According to George Galloway, the United Kingdom is doing this through GCHQ because the US is more circumscribed by law than the British State.
"The British hire themselves out to the US to carry out those things which would be illegal in the United States and hand over the rest. And by the way, if we are talking of prostitution, the price is no more than a $20 hooker, metaphorically speaking. We get 120 million pounds per year for carrying out this crime against the world, hacking the telephone of other European state’s people. For £120 million a year - my goodness! How cheap do you think we are? Well, pretty cheap as it turns out," he said.
The director of national intelligence on Saturday declassified more documents that indicate how the National Security Agency was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and internet records hunting down al-Qaeda terrorists. James Clapper explained in a statement on Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying in October 2001, as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, just after the 9/11 attacks.
President Obama’s administration has for the first time publicly confirmed "the existence of collection activities authorized by President George W. Bush," such as bulk amounts of Internet and phone metadata, as part of the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (TSP).
The disclosures are part of Washington's campaign to justify the NSA’s surveillance activities, following massive leaks to the media about the classified programs by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The Terrorist Surveillance Program, which had to be extended every 30-60 days by presidential order, was eventually replaced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that requires a secret court to authorize the bulk collection.
President Obama hinted on Friday that he would consider some changes to the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records to address the public's concerns about privacy. His comments came in a week in which a federal judge declared the NSA's collection program "unconstitutional," and a presidential advisory panel suggested 46 changes to NSA operations. Those recommendations included forcing the NSA to go to the court for every search of the phone records database and keeping that database in the hands of a third party, not the government.
"There has never been a comprehensive government release ... that wove the whole story together: the timeline of authorizing the programs and the gradual transition to (court) oversight," said Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group suing the NSA to reveal more about the bulk records programs. "Everybody knew that happened, but this is the first time I've seen the government confirm those twin aspects."
The unexpected flow of disclosures came with the release of documents outlining why issuing the information would damage national security. The US district court in the northern district of California had ordered the Obama administration to make the state secrets public.
"In September, the federal court in the northern district of California ordered the government to go back through all the secret ex parte declarations and declassify and release as much as they could, in light of the Snowden revelations and government confirmations," Rumold said. "So what was released late last night was in response to that court order."
In a legal argument the former national intelligence director Dennis Blair told the court in 2009 that leaking information (how the data was collected, whether suspects were being spied upon and what the programs had revealed about al-Qaeda) could seriously interfere with the hunt for terrorists.
The Voice of Russia, The Guardian