Secret War Against the
Authors: John Loftus and Mark
ISBN 0-312-11057-X, 1994
According to several of the "old spies" who
worked in Communications Intelligence, the NSA
headquarters is also the chief British espionage
base in the United States. The presence of British
wiretappers at the keyboards of American
eavesdropping computers is a closely guarded
secret, one that very few people in the
intelligence community have been aware of, but it
An American historian, David Kahn, first
stumbled onto a corner of the British connection in
1966, while writing his book
One indication of just how sensitive this
information is considered on both sides of the
Atlantic is the fact that Kahn's publishers in New
York and London were put under enormous pressure to
censor a great deal of the book.
In the main, Kahn simply revealed the existence
of the liaison relationship, but when he wrote that
the NSA and its British equivalent, the Government
Communications Headquarters, "exchange personnel on
a temporary basis", he had come too close to
revealing the truth.
The U.S. government
told Kahn to hide the existence of British
electronic spies from the American public. Kahn
eventually agreed to delete a few of the most
sensitive paragraphs describing the exchange of
codes, techniques, and personnel with the
British government His innocuous few sentences
threatened to disclose a larger truth.
By the 1960s the "temporary" British personnel
at Fort Meade had become a permanent fixture. The
British enjoyed continued access to the greatest
listening post in the world.
The NSA is a giant vacuum cleaner. It sucks in
every form of electronic communication. from
telephone calls to telegrams, across the United
The presence of British personnel is essential
for the American wiretappers to claim plausible
Here is how the game is played. The British
liaison officer at Fort Meade types the target list
of "suspects" into the American computer. The NSA
sorts through its wiretaps and gives the British
officer the recording of any American citizen he
Since it is technically a British target
of surveillance, no American search warrant
is necessary. The British officer then simply hands
the results over to his American liaison
Of course, the Americans provide the same
service to the British in return.
All international and domestic telephone calls
in Great Britain are run through the NSA's station
in the British Government Communications
Headquarters (GCHQ) at Menwith Hill, which allows
the American liaison officer to spy on any British
citizen without a warrant.
According to our sources, this duplicitous,
reciprocal arrangement disguises the most massive,
and illegal, domestic espionage apparatus in the
Not even the Soviets could touch the U.K.-U.S.
Through this charade,
the intelligence services of each country can
claim they are not targeting their own citizens.
This targeting is done by an authorized foreign
agent, the intelligence liaison resident in
Britain or the United States.
Thus, in 1977, during an investigation by the
House Government Operations Committee, Admiral
Inman could claim, with a straight face, that
"there are no U.S. Citizens now targeted by the NSA
in the United States or abroad, none." Since the
targeting was done not by NSA but by employees of
British GCHQ, he was literally telling the
According to a former special agent of the FBI,
the you-spy-on-mine, I'll-spy-on-yours deal has
been extended to other Western partners,
particularly Canada and Australia. The British,
with the help of sophisticated NSA computers, can
bug just about anyone anywhere. The electronic
search for subversives continues, particularly in
The NSA conceded precisely that point when the
U.S. Justice Department investigated its
wiretapping of American protesters during the
The NSA assured the Justice Department that the
information was acquired only incidentally
as part of a British GCHQ collection program.
The "incidental" British exception has become
To this day Congress does not realize that the
British liaison officers at the NSA are still free
to use American equipment to spy on American
citizens. And, in fact, they are doing just that.
Congress has been kept in the dark
This is a fact, not a matter of conjecture or a
conclusion based on anonymous sources.
In the early 1980s, during the Reagan
administration, one of the authors of this book
submitted to the intelligence community a draft of
a manuscript that briefly described the wiretap
shell game and mentioned the secrecy provisions
concerning British liaison relationships with the
NSA have escaped congressional knowledge. The
result was an uproar. The intelligence community
insisted that all passages explaining the British
wiretap program had to be censored and provided a
list of specific deletions.