Pine Gap Radomes
Five Eyes Directors
In 2018, the directors of the five intelligence agencies in the global Five Eyes network appeared together in public for the first time..

From “Friends With Benefits,” by Tom Stevenson, London Review of Books, 19 January 2023

The sheer extent of the global surveillance system overseen by the US and its allies made it difficult to hide. The physical infrastructure alone operates at a Promethean scale: a network of satellite monitoring facilities shielded by radomes stretching from Point Barrow on the Arctic coast of Alaska to the Rideau River in eastern Ontario to the Hartland Peninsula on the north coast of Devon to Kojarena in Western Australia to the Waihopai Valley on New Zealand’s South Island. An NSA analyst sitting in an office in Fort Meade, Maryland, receives signals from radio interception antennae in Tangimoana and taps on subsea internet cables on the bed of the Sea of Okhotsk. 



Signals intelligence is supposed to be shared seamlessly among the Five Eyes members, but that’s not the way it always works in practice. The NSA automatically receives the feed from other stations, but sometimes withholds what it knows. On occasion it takes in intelligence from another Five Eyes country and then reclassifies it as NOFORN, revoking the access of the ally that originally collected it. The greatest hits of Anglo-American intelligence work are well known: the NSA’s monitoring of Egypt and Syria, the 1953 coup in Iran, a failed attempt at a redux in Syria in 1957, the Anglo-American operation to tunnel under East Berlin and tap its telephone lines, covert support for the mujahedin in Afghanistan, the false claim about the existence of Iraqi WMD.


On 12 September 2001, the heads of MI6, MI5 and GCHQ were flown to Langley to discuss how they could contribute to the war against al-Qaida. Kerbaj says that British intelligence agencies had expertise to offer from their work in Northern Ireland that was thought valuable to American efforts. That was certainly the belief in the UK, though questionable in reality. What was more important to Washington was that the already substantial resources the US devoted to its own intelligence agencies should be increased. By 2013, the NSA’s budget had doubled and thousands of new staff had been hired. Many of the revelations in the papers leaked by Edward Snowden (which Kerbaj refers to as ‘stolen documents’) had to do with systems brought in for the new era of mass surveillance.

From “Friends With Benefits,” by Tom Stevenson, London Review of Books, 19 January 2023

Pine Gap Radomes
P

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.