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Who in the UK Had Access to PRISM Intel?

And what are their political affiliations?

by
Mike McNally

Bio

June 7, 2013 - 4:34 pm

The NSA/PRISM scandal has spread to the UK, with the news that American intelligence officials shared telephone and internet data harvested by wiretapping programs with their counterparts at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). According to The Guardian, GCHQ has had access to PRISM data since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.

Those reports would normally be passed to MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence services.

The Obama administration has insisted that the PRISM program has not targeted U.S. citizens. However, if foreign citizens of interest were communicating with U.S. citizens, then those Americans would presumably be known to the NSA. Many Americans are skeptical that either their government or the phone and internet companies involved are telling the truth, and with so many questions remaining unanswered, it’s possible that information on American citizens may have been shared with British officials and politicians.

GCHQ has refused to confirm any involvement with the PRISM program, and we don’t, of course, know who in the UK security services would have seen such information. We do, however, know which politicians might have had access to it.

These would include the Home Secretary Theresa May, who is the minister responsible for national security and policing. Also, members of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, which has oversight over GCHQ and other branches of the security services.

That committee is chaired by the Conservative MP Malcolm Rifkind, a former foreign secretary and defense minister. The other members are Tory MPs Julian Lewis and Mark Field; Labour MPs George Howarth, Hazel Blears and Paul Goggins; Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell; and two members of the House of Lords: the Conservative peer Lord Lothian, and the unaffiliated peer Lord Butler, a former top civil servant.

It seems clear, meanwhile, that both the NSA and GCHQ have been viewing PRISM data relating to British citizens. If so, the NSA’s involvement is diplomatically embarrassing both for the Obama administration and the British government. GCHQ would appear to have circumvented the usual legal process required for the UK security services to obtain personal information on British citizens from internet and telephone companies.

Demanding that the British government hold an inquiry, Keith Vaz — the Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee — said:

I am astonished by these revelations, which could involve the data of thousands of Britons. The most chilling aspect is that ordinary American citizens and potentially British citizens too were apparently unaware that their phone and online interactions could be watched.

If — as Obama and his National Security officials insist — Americans have nothing to be alarmed about, then presumably the involvement of the British security services shouldn’t be an issue either. But the president is a long way from convincing Americans that that is the case.

Mike McNally is a journalist based in Bath, England. He posts at PJ Tatler and at his own blog Monkey Tennis, and tweets at @notoserfdom. When he's not writing about politics he writes about Photoshop.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
What else is going to come out, if Obama was a nasty old white man and the Democrats were patriotic citizens, it would be their job to tar and feather him. Obama has done it all now, he's had over 30 major scams like Solyandra and Pigford, gun running and murder [Fast and Furious], Benghazi gunrunning again and some other stuff, start Wars without Congressional Authorization and now I find out I'm sharing my hard-drive and email with Obama, the FBI, CIA, ASA, NSA, NEA, DNC, Black Panthers, Black Muslims, al-Quida and my ex-wife's attorney.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (12)
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Guess PRISM suffers from massive data overload: it missed the Boston bombing brothers, the UK missed some deranged head choppers.

Guess further that Obama needs to listen some more. How about take some time off from golfing and listen to the tapes?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
(from the guys who didn't catch the obvious trail of the Tsarnaev brothers and didn't throw that angry Islamist Nidal Hasan out of the army, both of whom had been "active" online)

"... a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as 'attack', 'Al Qaeda', 'terrorism' and 'dirty bomb' alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like 'pork', 'cloud', 'team' and 'Mexico'."

There I was with the swimming team, innocently munching a pork chop in Guadalajara, Mexico on a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky...when Big Sis & Eric Holder federales showed up to arrest me.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150281/REVEALED-Hundreds-words-avoid-using-online-dont-want-government-spying-you.html
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Notice also, that the term "leak" is on the list -- that probably rates as a Number one priority on an Obozo list (so never ever mention anything about taking a leak -- if you don't want Feds showing up).
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
And here I thought the key words were rat-eared, zero and incompetent.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If one looks up "Mass surveillance" on Wikipedia, then scan the subheading, "United Kingdom" -- one will perhaps get a glimpse of the Orwellian nature of today's UK -- and this has been going on for years. Here is one quote: "In 2002 the UK government announced plans to extend the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), so that at least 28 government departments would be given powers to browse citizens' web, email, telephone and fax records, without a warrant and without a subject's knowledge." So the sudden hand wringing with respect to PRISM sounds a false note.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The answer is easy! Who in the UK could help destroy America and the American middle class?
The UK is leading on the destruction of most core cultural values, no weapons, rampant censorship based on political correctness, universal homosexuality, destruction of religious values, shrinking military and taking wealth away from citizens and giving it to foreigners. The UK appears to be doing well and doesn't need help from Obama.
So the only reasons to give refined Prism data to the Brits would be to damage specific evil conservative individuals such as the folks who owned/operated the conservative news outfit that owns FOX or to personally enrich Obama Chicago insiders. Betting insiders would probably like to know, for example, the sex/name of Prince William's new baby.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It appears to me, someone, or group is throwing information of the current administrations nefarious anti-Constitution behavior to the media. This NSA data mining on Americans is the latest.

I realize there are individuals who are up to no good, and a case needs to be built. However, I believe a case with a legal warrant. Not just give me millions of phone, and e-mail records of Americans, and let me decide who is behaving well.

If I am correct, and I hope I am, there are still those who believe, and swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and Bill of Rights. May G-d watch over him/her, or them as they do what is Honorable.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh dear.
''[W]e don’t, of course, know who in the UK security services would have seen such information. We do, however, know which politicians might have had access to it.''
...Veddy Briddish. Translates thusly: Here I am in peasantville, happily ignorant in a hamlet nr. Bath in southwest England, and too damn lazy to do any real work much less chip a fingernail, so let's acknowledge that, 'of course', I don't know what I'm talking about, but here goes anyway. I can smear at will and walk away unscathed, without ever going near any GCHQ place or even talking to them or anyone else, so I'll speculate randomly for as long as needed to get paid by the credulous ignorami running PJM.

Even if we stipulate that your names may be credible -- most aren't -- you might just as well throw darts at the phonebook, trashing people at random. Doesn't put food on the table, though.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Knowledge is power" - the primary consideration of the Obama administration,
everything else, pales in comparison. We are being snookered into trading our freedoms for (false) security. To call Obama the GOTUS (Grifter Of The United States) is too kind; and Holder is every bit as bad ... being the head of the DOG (Department of Grifters). These two bozos are insulting the intelligence of every single American ... their totalitarian tendencies have been allowed to run amok; and the consequences for the rest of us have been dreadful. Time to put a stop to the grift; and the moron grifters.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
What else is going to come out, if Obama was a nasty old white man and the Democrats were patriotic citizens, it would be their job to tar and feather him. Obama has done it all now, he's had over 30 major scams like Solyandra and Pigford, gun running and murder [Fast and Furious], Benghazi gunrunning again and some other stuff, start Wars without Congressional Authorization and now I find out I'm sharing my hard-drive and email with Obama, the FBI, CIA, ASA, NSA, NEA, DNC, Black Panthers, Black Muslims, al-Quida and my ex-wife's attorney.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reading our e-mails and listening to our phone calls sure doesn't seem to have made the Brits much safer. I wonder who else is looking over our shoulder? The French and Germans are likely candidates. The funny thing is, serious terrorists almost certainly realize their phones are tapped and their e-mails are being read; they use couriers, now.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The funny thing is, serious terrorists almost certainly realize their phones are tapped and their e-mails are being read; they use couriers, now."

Or "burner" phones (prepaid cell phones), which are apparently untraceible.

The HBO series The Wire extensively illustrates the the use of burners by drug dealers but there's no reason terrorists - or just orddinary folks like you and me who value their privacy - can use the same techniques if you want to stay off of Obama's radar.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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