The US National Security Agency (NSA) has tried to persuade its British counterpart to stop the Guardian’s revelations about the collection of secret mass data leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to a new book.
Sir Ian Le Pen, head of the Government Communications Center (GCHQ), was summoned in the early hours of 6 June 2013 with this request, which he refused, saying that the agency would not act as oversight on behalf of its US partner in the matter of cyber espionage.
The late-night phone call and Britain’s refusal to stop publishing the leaks was the first episode in which the Snowden affair has caused divisions within the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, according to a new book released Thursday by investigative director and journalist Richard Kerbage. In his book, this is The Secret Story of the Five Eyesin.
According to Kerbage, Le Pen was aware of the importance of the special relationship between US and UK intelligence agencies, but believed that “the suggestion to urge a newspaper not to publish the article for the sake of the NSA sounds like an exaggeration”. .
In October 2013, then-Prime Minister David Cameron subsequently threatened injunctions or “tougher measures” to prevent further publication of Snowden’s leaks about the vast array of telephone and internet communications by the NSA and GCHQ. But the DA-Notice – the body that warns the British media that a story could harm national security – told the Guardian at the time that what it was publishing did not endanger British lives.
In the new book, Kirbage reports that the intelligence relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom became strained when the head of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, failed to inform Le Pen that the Americans had identified Snowden, a Hawaii-based government contractor, as an intelligence source, so the British agency investigated With a dropout in its ranks. Snowden’s identity was not discovered by GCHQ until it was revealed in an interview with the Guardian.
Among the materials that Snowden leaked are classified documents of the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence services, as well as other Five Eyes members. They all shared information with the NSA through a common database. Their confusion increased due to the revelation that they were spying on their allies and partners in the G20.
The Five Eyes allies were outraged that a contractor like Snowden, who acted as a computer system administrator, had access to their secrets, and that 1.5 million Americans had obtained high-level security clearances like Snowden due to outsourcing by the United States government.
However, when Five Eyes officials were in Australia in the summer of 2013, only British representatives openly questioned US practices. Other allies feared that they would be cut off from intelligence. But British officials did nothing when it came to frustration with their American counterparts about the value of the intelligence and funding provided by the National Security Agency. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s former National Security Adviser, argues in the book that “the United States gives us more than we give, so we just have to move on.” (guardian)
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