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    Soldiers stand next to a map of the Falkland Islands

    UK Can Neither 'Confirm Nor Deny' Spying on Argentina Over Falklands

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    On Thursday, documents provided to The Intercept online publication by US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that a unit of the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was involved in Operation QUITO in Argentina from at least 2009 until 2011.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom "does not confirm nor deny" the implementation of the so-called Operation Quito in Argentina by British intelligence, a UK Foreign Office spokesman told Sputnik on Friday.

    GCHQ Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) gathered information intended to be used to discredit Argentinian authorities and limit popular support in the country for an invasion of the Falkland Islands.

    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 British security in 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.

    Related:

    Argentina Complains to UN Over UK’s 'Militarization' of Falklands
    Argentina Slams UK for Using Falklands As Pretext to Boost Defense Budget
    Falklands Defense Unshaken by Alleged Argentina Threat - Official
    UK to Boost Falklands Defense to Counter Argentina Invasion Fears - Reports
    Tags:
    surveillance, espionage, UK Foreign Office, Argentina, Britain, Falkland Islands
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