MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A new batch of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that the United Kingdom enlisted its spy service to gather information on Argentinian leadership that could be used to manipulate public opinion in the country so as to limit popular support for Argentina to invade the Falkland Islands, The Intercept reported.
The documents obtained by The Intercept and Argentinian news website Todo Noticias say that a unit of the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) has been involved in “Operation QUITO” in Argentina from at least 2009 until 2011.
While the documents provide no clear information on what tactics JTRIG employed to reach its goals in Argentina, The Intercept suggests that the unit could have been using “false flag” operations and computer viruses to collect intelligence, spread propaganda and discredit opponents.
The aims of British intelligence in Argentina were not limited to the Falklands. According to the documents quoted by The Intercept, surveillance of the country’s “military and leadership” communications on various platforms was a “high priority” task for GCHQ.
Argentina has repeatedly claimed ownership of the Falkland Islands, a deep-water archipelago about 300 miles off the country's east coast. The dispute saw a 74-day Falklands War in 1982, when Argentina invaded and briefly occupied the islands.
The conflict claimed the lives of some 650 Argentinian and 250 British servicemen, before Argentina conceded
On March 24, UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon said that Argentina’s government still represents a “very live threat” to the British-ruled Falkland Islands and announced plans to spend $268 million over the next 10 years to boost the security of the islands.
Argentina, in its turn, has sent official letters of complaint to the UN Secretary-General and heads of several regional organizations accusing the UK of further militarizing the Islands.