There is a fascinating article in today’s Guardian re links between Britain’s GCHQ (equivalent of our GCSB) and the US’s NSA. All three are linked in the UKUSA network.
Sir Iain Lobban, the head of the agency is reported as saying in an internal document:
Over the past five years, we have seen GCHQ change from being simply an intelligence producer into a genuien operational partner for the military and intelligence customers.
Shades of New Zealand.
GCHQ received funding of $22.09m in 2009 rising to $34.7m in 2011/12 from the NSA, which apparently is not subject to audit oversight. It is very concerned about delivering value to its American funder. One ‘selling point’ is described thus:
The UK’s comparatively weak oversight regime and the flexibility of British laws are regarded as ‘selling points’ to Washington – a clear indication, perhaps, that the US expects Britain to help in areas it finds too difficult because of America’s own rules and regulations.
Here our courts at least were vigilant when GCSB rushed to help out the Americans. No wonder Key wants to change the law to loosen things up. The whole article is worth a read; all I can say is thank God for the Guardian – would that our media were as vigilant.