Americans pay GCHQ £100m to spy for them, leaked NSA papers from Edward Snowden claim

In return for the payment GCHQ was required to ‘pull its weight’, according to the documents which were leaked last night

The US government paid Britain’s spying centre at GCHQ £100m over three years, according to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the payments were made in order to secure access to Britain's intelligence gathering programmes.

In return for the payment GCHQ was required to ‘pull its weight’, according to the documents which were leaked last night.

The newspaper claims the payments were set out in papers which made clear that the Americans expected a return on the investment.

"GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight," a strategy briefing by the electronic listening post said.

In a 2010 document the Cheltenham-based agency acknowledged that the US had "raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA's minimum expectations" and GCHQ "still remains short of the full NSA ask".

In the documents GCHQ describes Britain's surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a "selling point" for the Americans, the newspaper claimed.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: "The vital work of the intelligence agencies requires effective and thorough oversight by the Intelligence and Security Committee on behalf of Parliament, and by ministers, and in the case of GCHQ, by the Foreign Secretary.

"The latest reports in the Guardian only underline the importance of the Foreign Secretary and the Intelligence and Security Committee being able to assure the public that the legal framework within which our intelligence agencies operate is both being adhered to and is fit for purpose."

The information is the latest to be leaked by Mr Snowden, a former NSA contractor who was charged with espionage in the US.

Yesterday, Mr Snowden was allowed to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where he has been since late June after exposing the NSA's use of an intelligence programme, known as PRISM, to spy on Facebook accounts, emails and phone calls.

He was granted temporary asylum in Russia on the proviso that he would not publish any further documents that blacken the American government.

The Russian move is likely to further aggravate relations with the United States that were already strained by support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's bloody civil war and a host of other issues.

"We see this as an unfortunate development and we are extremely disappointed by it," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington.

"We are evaluating the utility of a summit, in light of this and other issues, but I have no announcement today on that.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower