The American taxpayer is footing the bill for illegal electronic surveillance efforts being conducted by Her Majesty’s government. These efforts appear to violate both the United States Constitution and British law.
It has been discovered that the National Security Agency paid its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, $151 million (£100 million) for electronic surveillance over the past few years. These efforts included Global Telecoms Exploitation in which GCHQ tapped into fiber optic cables that gave them the ability to monitor international emails and phone calls. The Guardian newspaper reported on these items in the latest of NSA leaks.
British Spying on US Citizens for NSA
The Guardian pointed out that GCHQ might be spying on American citizens in the United States, which would be a direct violation of U.S. law. That would be a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which as Anthony Gucciardi has pointed out is already being ignored by the DHS.
British critics are concerned about this because it is an interference in Britain’s political system and status as an independent country. Documents Edward Snowden supplied to The Guardian indicate that GCHQ spent more time trying to satisfy demands from the NSA than from Her Majesty’s government. GCHQ was devoting its efforts to servicing its American customers rather than serving the British people whom it is supposed to protect.
In other words, the NSA might actually be violating British sovereignty on some level by directly funding some British government activities. What’s worse is that those activities seem to be directed at making an end run around the U.S. Constitution.
Snowden: British Spies ‘Worse Than NSA’
Snowden didn’t let the NSA off the hook; he told The Guardian that he thinks GCHQ is actually worse than the NSA. He believes GCHQ is more likely to violate the law and rights than the NSA is.
Even though it is a democratic country, Britain has no written Constitution. That makes it easier for British government organizations to operate outside the law. Since GCHQ is based in Britain and it is not operating under the US Constitution, it may be used by the NSA to go ‘around’ the Constitution. Although any U.S. government agency that received data from such an operation would be violating the Fourth Amendment.
Naturally the notion raises the troubling possibility that the NSA is illegally spying on British subjects (citizens) possibly in violation of British law on behalf of GCHQ. In other words, the rights of citizens of both nations are being violated. The Guardian also unearthed documents that show GCHQ has an objective of being able to exploit any phone anywhere anytime. Exploit is a euphemism for tap or hack. The goal is to be able to monitor all mobile phones and apps.
It looks like the NSA’s surveillance efforts are larger and more troublesome than was previously revealed. This agency is not only a threat to our privacy, but it is poisoning our relations with other countries in the name of national security.
Congress and the British Parliament need to start doing their jobs and hold agencies and their officials accountable for their behavior. There have probably been massive payments by the NSA to other governments we aren’t aware of. There’s no telling what foreign governments are listening to your telephone calls and reading your emails with the NSA’s help.