7 June 2013
Worried by state snooping in US and UK

By Steve Schofield
Letters: The Guardian


'Extremely concerning from a UK perspective is the role of Menwith Hill, the NSA spy base in North Yorkshire'. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Your reports on the Prism programme (Revealed: how US secretly collects private data from AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Paltalk, Skype, Yahoo and YouTube, 7 June) reinforce the evidence of whistleblowers over the last decade that the National Security Agency, despite official denials, has been massively extending its capacity to intercept all forms of electronic communications and is harvesting private data on a systematic basis. Extremely concerning from the UK perspective is the role of Menwith Hill, the NSA spy base in North Yorkshire that plays a key role for the US as part of a global electronic surveillance network.

Menwith Hill has undergone a multibillion-dollar investment programme to enhance exactly those same capabilities for the interception of domestic communications and in its role co-ordinating intelligence-led warfare for special operations forces and remote-control weaponry like drones. All this is done effectively beyond any form of parliamentary accountability and is shrouded under the convenient cover of national security.

The NSA is now enormously powerful and is operating as a de facto secret state in ways that flout democratic norms and international law, with serious implications for personal and political freedoms.

Steve Schofield

Global Network