The United States is planning to spend over $300 million to turn one of its military bases in Britain into a spying hub.
Royal Air Force Croughton, a US Air Force base near Milton Keynes, England, currently serves as a relay station for CIA agent communications and is planned to be turned into one of Washington’s largest spying hubs outside the US mainland, the Independent reported on Sunday.
Once the $317 million project is complete in 2017, the site will become an ultra-secure spying center with more than 1,000 personnel stationed at the facility to cover operations in Africa. The center is likely to be co-staffed with representatives of British intelligence.
The base is already believed to be used as a support site for US drone strikes in Yemen. Reports revealed last year that RAF Croughton was used to gather data from a global network of spy bases inside US embassies and send them back to Washington.
Documents revealed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown that the United States and Britain, which are key members of the English-speaking intelligence sharing alliance known as ‘Five Eyes’ club, have been cooperating to spy on other countries’ officials and leaders.
One such document revealed last year that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) helped the US National Security Agency monitor phone calls and email communications of foreign leaders and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London.
NSA documents obtained by Snowden showed other members of the ‘Five Eyes’ club – Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – also helped the US to spy on people and officials in other countries.
Leaked documents in November showed that the NSA spied on the G8 and G20 summits held in the Canadian city of Toronto in 2010, with the help of the host country’s government.
It was also made public in October that Washington has been secretly using Australian embassies throughout Asia to intercept phone calls and collect data across the continent.