The Intelligence & Security Committee has published its annual report today. Among other things it’s been looking into the impact of Brexit on intelligence sharing, which they’ve concluded is zero. Directors of SIS, GCHQ, MI5, and Defence Intelligence have given evidence to the committee to point out that, despite Brexit, UK intelligence sharing is getting along just fine. Spooks generally prefer bilateral or trilateral co-operation, and they acknowledge EU member states would be shooting themselves in the foot if they gave up access to the UK’s high-quality intel. So much for Cameron’s weak referendum warning that we could end up like Iceland – going cap in hand to the EU for intel with no success…
The Chief of SIS said:
“I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say it hasn’t made any difference to us post-Brexit … heads of EU services have made a point of lining up and saying to me that they are determined to maintain the relationship”.
GCHQ’s director went further to say:
“We’re doing more with European countries now than we were at the point of referendum”.
The committee adds the number of terrorist attacks have been unaffected by Brexit as well. Live and let leave…
White House Press Sec talking about Obama using British GCHQ & not US agencies to spy on Trump so that there werent US fingerprints on it 😮😮 pic.twitter.com/KcLZt5KOZS
— CoxeyLoxey (@CoxeyLoxey) March 16, 2017
Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer is making news again this morning after repeating claims first made on Fox News that GCHQ had been involved in ‘wire tapping’ the then President Elect. The network’s ‘Senior Judicial Analyst‘ Judge Napolitano claimed on Tuesday that Fox had “three intelligence sources” for this. “What the heck is GCHQ?”, he asked.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) 14 March 2017
Responding to Spicer, GCHQ took the step of issuing this statement overnight:
“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
What’s the English for kompromat?
GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan has quit after just two years in the job, citing personal reasons:
“Dear Foreign Secretary.
I have had the great privilege of leading the men and women of GCHQ since 2014. I am proud of what we have achieved in those years. not least setting up the National Cyber Security Centre and building greater public understanding of our intelligence work. I am equally proud of the relentless 24 hour operational effort against terrorism, crime and many other national security threats. While this work must remain secret, you will know how many lives have been saved in this country and overseas by the work of GCHQ.
Underpinning this is our world-class technology and, above all, our brilliant people. As you know, I have also initiated the greatest internal change within GCHQ for thirty years, and l feel that we are now well on the way to being ﬁt for the next generation of security challenges to the UK in the digital age.
After a good deal of thought I have decided that this is the right time to move on and to allow someone else to lead GCHQ through its next phase. I am, like you, a great enthusiast for our history and I think it is right that a new Director should be ﬁrmly embedded by our centenary in 2019. I am very committed to GCHQ’s future and will of course be happy to stay in post until you have been able to appoint a successor.
I have been lucky enough to have some extraordinary roles in public service over the last twenty years, from Northern Ireland to No.10, the Cabinet Ofﬁce and the Foreign Office. But they have all demanded a great deal of my ever patient and understanding family. and new is the right time for a change in direction.
I want to thank you and the many Ministers I have served over the years. and to thank the Prime Minister and her three predecessors. for the opportunities I have been given. I have worked with outstanding people, whether politicians or Crown Servants, and none more so than in GCHQ. I am very conﬁdent that they will continue to achieve even greater things in the future.”
Co-conspirators may have noticed that a little lock now appears in their browser when they come to read Guido. This is because we have switched to HTTPS, the industry standard for providing encryption, authentication, and integrity for content on the web.
We have done this because the news you read can provide intimate details about your interests, your work, and your personal life that you may want to keep private from prying eyes. Without HTTPS, an eavesdropper—whether it’s a snooper on public wifi, or GCHQ collecting information about websites you visit—can trivially see exactly what news articles you read when you go to sites. Eavesdropping on people reading the news is a real threat, as demonstrated by the NSA and GCHQ spying on visitors to WikiLeaks.org.
HTTPS prevents this type of spying, and while an eavesdropper might be able to determine that you visited the website that the Russian Foreign Ministry instructs diplomats to read to find out what is going on in Westmnster, they wouldn’t be able to see which specific stories you read.
According to Der Spiegel GCHQ takes advantage of the lack of encryption to inject malware into a website, which can lead to the complete compromise of a user’s computer and all of their data. A version of this technique, codenamed “Quantum Insert,” was used by GCHQ to attack network sysadmins who read Slashdot, the popular news website in the IT community. (Slashdot has since deployed HTTPS site-wide). Guido wants to protect you from government spies…
MPs voting on the Snooper’s Charter next week might be swayed to oppose Theresa May’s anti-privacy laws by the revelation that GCHQ are already accessing their emails. New documents released by Edward Snowden show GCHQ not only intercepts MPs’ communications – it also scans them in bulk using security software installed to supposedly filter spam emails. GCHQ has been able to skirt around strict rules governing the interception of internal UK communications due to parliament’s decision to switch to Microsoft Office for its email service. This means private emails sent by MPs are routed through servers in Ireland and the Netherlands, with each one being scanned and recorded by GCHQ. MPs should remember they’re governed by the laws they create…
Hello, world. https://t.co/SROtSsE8KB
— GCHQ (@GCHQ) May 16, 2016
GCHQ says: “In joining social media GCHQ can use its own voice to talk directly about the important work we do in keeping Britain safe”. #ListeningToOurCustomers
We want GCHQ to be more accessible and to help the public understand more about our work. We also want to reach out to the technical community and add our voice to social media conversations about technology, maths, cyber security, and other topics where we have a view. We will be using Twitter to talk about our history, mission outcomes, languages, maths, cyber security, technology and innovation, job opportunities and as a way of signposting events, publications, news, blogs, and opinion pieces.
More realistically, it is becoming essential for recruitment when they are competing with higher-paying tech firms…