The United States funds 50 per cent of British intelligence in the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The funding is part of €115 million the National Security Agency (NSA) has given the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) since 2009 in order to obtain access and influence over British surveillance.
The intelligence transaction is the latest leak to emerge from documents leaked by former NSA subcontractor, Edward Snowden.
“The papers show the NSA pays half the costs of one of the UK’s main eavesdropping capabilities in Cyprus. In turn, GCHQ has to take the American view into account when deciding what to prioritise,” The Guardian reported.
While US financing allowed GCHQ to avoid austerity measures, British intelligence officials are alarmed by the importance placed upon American interests, several quoted memos revealed. The NSA was determined to gain from its massive investment.
“In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions,” a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said, trying to diffuse the leak.
Analysts speculate that the NSA may be using GCHQ data for domestic surveillance in the US, as it is illegal for the NSA to gather intelligence on Americans. Snowden raised concerns about NSA collaboration with British spy agencies, saying “It’s not just a US problem. They are worse than the US.”
US attempts to extradite Snowden have now failed, as Russia granted him temporary asylum Thursday.