NSA Paying UK Spy Agency to Surveil Americans

The United States government is paying the UK government’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (or GCHQ), to do much of their clandestine “dirty work,” a new Guardian report revealed Thursday.

In documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported on by the Guardian, “top secret payments” of at least £100m (roughly $150m) over the past three years were made to the agency in exchange for the UK agency to “pull its weight” in regards to international surveillance.

According to Guardian reporters Nick Hopkins and Julian Borger:

Taking advantage of the UK’s more lax surveillance restrictions and their ability to spy on US citizens, this international spy partnership has proved to be mutually beneficial for the two dragnet agencies.

In one cited instance, the GCHQ had “boasted” that it was able to supply “unique contributions” to the NSA during its investigation of an American citizen’s attempted car bomb attack in Times Square in 2010.

“No other detail is provided,” Hopkins and Borger write, “but it raises the possibility that GCHQ might have been spying on an American living in the US,” which US law prohibits the NSA from doing.