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Exclusive: NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ

GCHQ's site in Bude, Cornwall

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes.The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands.The funding underlines the closeness of the relationship between GCHQ and its US equivalent, the National Security Agency. But it will raise fears about the hold Washington has over the UK's biggest and most important intelligence agency, and whether Britain's dependency on the NSA has become too great.In one revealing document from 2010, GCHQ acknowledged that the US had "raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA's minimum expectations". It said GCHQ "still remains short of the full NSA ask".Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA's "dirty work", but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain's surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a "selling point" for the Americans.The papers are the latest to emerge from the cache leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has railed at the reach of the US and UK intelligence agencies.

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01 Aug
Bruce Sterling @bruces
http://t.co/IDKqcLdxkX *Well, at least Perfidious Albion works cheap and easy #SpecialRelationship
01 Aug
Hacker News 20 @newsyc20
NSA pays 100m in secret funding for GCHQ http://t.co/qMBtz88ASG (http://t.co/7I7hS4fmgs)
01 Aug
Glyn Moody @glynmoody
#NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ - http://t.co/OzWLtTFMwx UK is just a pathetic performing poodle #Snowden