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everyone's mail. In Stratford, a place of gentle green hills and straw-
thatched cottages along the Avon, William Shakespeare mentioned the
practice in Henry V:

The King has note of all that they intend,
By interception which they dream not of.




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During World War II, the cryptanalytic activities of both Britain and
the United States reached their zenith with the breaking of the Enigma,
Fish, and Purple cipher machines. Following the war, to obscure the
purpose of the burgeoning codebreaking organization, all references to
cryptology were dropped from its name. Thus the Government Code and
Cypher School became the Government Communications Headquarters
(GCHQ). About the same time, Bletchley Park was turned into a training
center and GCHQ moved to the Cotswolds. There in Cheltenham, among
medieval villages of stone cottages and endless fields, GCHQ built its
sprawling headquarters in 1953.
Among the differences between NSA and GCHQ for many years was
unionization. Codebreakers, intercept operators, and others at GCHQ
were allowed to join unions and even engage in brief work stoppages.
That came to an end in 1984 when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
used her iron fist to ban the unions. Much of the pressure to deunionize
GCHQ came from the United States.
On February 23, 1979, in a little-noticed action, a few hundred
members of two civil service unions walked out for the day in support of
a pay hike, briefly halting long-term analysis of intercepted messages.
Then, in December 1979, after the Russians invaded Afghanistan,
intercept operators began a "work-to-rule" action that limited the degree
to which GCHQ could eavesdrop on Soviet tank and troop movements.
Work-to-rule meant that intercept operators would do such things as
tune their receiver to exactly the frequency of the desired target and not
move from that frequency even though the signal might drift slightly to
either side.
Because NSA always has a sizable number of its own personnel
working at GCHQ, the agency immediately became aware of the action.
For the director of GCHQ, Sir Brian Tovey, it was extremely
embarrassing. He ended up apologizing to NSA's then director, Bobby
Ray Inman, for his agency's poor performance. "It made us look
ridiculous," he recalled. "That was the turning point for me. From that
time onwards, there was always an undercurrent of worry in some part of
the office. It might be the radio [intercept] operators this week, the
communications officers the next, and the computer operators the week
after, but there was always something one was trying to contain."
"Some sixty percent of the GCHQ radio [intercept] operators obeyed
the call to work to rule," said one GCHQ supervisor, "creating such great
damage to communications intelligence information that a major row
erupted between GCHQ and NSA, with the latter threatening to terminate
the UKUSA Agreement and withdraw all financial assistance and
exchange of intelligence." He added, "NSA's faith in GCHQ's ability to
deliver the goods was on the wane."



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Tovey saw trouble ahead. In the spring of 1981, he said, the unions
made it "brutally clear" that they now regarded GCHQ as an attractive
target”"a damn good place to hit." He added, "Hitting GCHQ doesn't hit
the public, but it does bother and embarrass HMG [Her Majesty's
Government]."
In 1980, GCHQ intercept operators at one listening post had
conducted a work-to-rule slowdown just at the time the Soviet Union was
heavily involved in Afghanistan, causing a great deal of teeth-gnashing at
NSA. As a result, Tovey wrote a classified letter to the staffers who had
caused the disruption. "I was able to spell out the consequences of their
action and the considerable anxiety it had caused to some of our
customers and our major allies," he said.
The most serious job action took place on March 8, 1981, during a
critical period when there were numerous major international events
taking place. These included the assassination attempt on President
Reagan in Washington and a call for a national strike by the Solidarity
union in Poland. At GCHQ, the unions called for a one-day strike and
then mounted "selective disruptive action" at a number of the agency's
listening posts around the world. "The massive response to the strike call
by intercepting personnel rendered a number of the intelligence
gathering stations completely inoperable for more than a week," said one
GCHQ supervisor. "This lost not only the current intelligence available
through interception, but deprived the organization of information
necessary for the reception of valuable information for months ahead."
According to Tovey, it became essential that actions at one of those
monitoring stations be halted immediately "for the most vital security
reasons." But when a senior GCHQ official pleaded with a union official
to call off the work stoppage at that station, explaining in vague terms
the nature of the threat, the union official replied bluntly, "You are telling
me where I'm hurting Mrs. Thatcher."
Thus when Tovey told the NSA director shortly after the incident that
he was going to get the unions banned, Inman smiled and exclaimed,
"That's marvelous." "We do not interfere with each other," said Tovey.
"But having said that, the Americans could not be unconcerned if a
major partner fell down on the job. We noticed a reluctance to enter into
work-sharing and we read this as a message. It was the beginning of a
reluctant feeling that 'Oh Lord, we don't know whether we can rely on the
Brits.'.. . They had always been puzzled by the presence of unions. They
have a cast-iron organization at the NSA. If anyone goes on strike there
they get the sack. We used to have to tell them: 'We've had to drop this
because of industrial unrest; could you pick it up for us?' The Americans
found this bizarre."
Arguing to Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee that unions should



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be banned at GCHQ, Tovey asserted that their past actions had put
"unfair stress on the Americans" and that the tempo of union disruptions
was increasing. Once Thatcher approved the recommendation, buff-
brown envelopes appeared on employees' desks explaining the order.
"Some people went white," said one GCHQ worker, "some people started
to giggle. You could say they were in a mild state of clinical shock." To
protest the action, the Trades Union Congress paid for an advertisement
in a London tabloid. "At GCHQ," it said, "the Government listens to
everyone except the people who work there."
The worry that NSA might someday distance itself from GCHQ has
had a major impact on the British organization, never more than during
the 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. At that point, the
British government realized how much they relied on NSA for help with
Sigint. "Dependence is total," said one official. One report indicated that
NSA broke the Argentine code and that as much as 98 percent of the
intelligence on Argentina's naval and military movements came from
NSA. "We can ask the Americans to do things," said one former official,
"but we cannot compel them. There may be targets they don't want to
cover."
As a result of this worry, the British government in 1983 gave secret
approval for a massive undertaking, the development of their own Sigint
satellite, codenamed Zircon. GCHQ originally recommended the project
to the Ministry of Defence as far back as the early 1970s, following the
success of NSA's Rhyolite program. But they were constantly turned
down until 1983, after the Falklands War.
Originally scheduled for a 1988 launch, Zircon was to be disguised as
a military communications satellite and was to focus primarily on
Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Not everyone, however, was happy
with the decision. A few dismissed it as "macho politics," simply an
attempt to keep up with the United States in an endless Sigint space
race. Worse, the Ministry of Defence kept the entire $700 million project
hidden from Parliament.
But the costs soon doomed Zircon. The satellite itself bore an
enormous price tag, and it was estimated that yearly maintenance
requirements would have added about another $150 million to the
project. "The UK simply isn't able to afford that coverage," said
Lieutenant General Derek Boorman, the chief of Defence Intelligence.
Instead, Britain agreed to contribute money to the United States in
return for a sort of time-share arrangement with a new generation of
NSA's Sigint satellites, codenamed Magnum. Under the new agreement,
London would be allowed to "task" the satellites on targets of interest to
the United Kingdom for up to one-third of the time.
The first Magnum was launched in 1994 with an eavesdropping dish



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160 feet in diameter. Now that they were part owners of the Sigint
satellite, senior British officials began taking a closer interest in
Cheltenham. That same year Prime Minister John Major paid his first
visit to GCHQ, and early the next year the Queen herself and the Duke of
Edinburgh were given a tour. At the time, the agency employed 6,228
people at its headquarters, with about 3,000 more at overseas listening
posts, and had a budget of about $900 million.
By 2001, GCHQ was busy constructing a new $500 million space-age
complex to replace its headquarters buildings. Nicknamed "the
doughnut," the circular structure was being built on a 176-acre site in
Benhall, a section of Cheltenham about four miles from the old
headquarters in Oakley. Plans called for the bombproof, four-story
signals intelligence center to be seventy feet high and more than 600 feet
in diameter”easily big enough to hold London's Royal Albert Hall. In
addition to rooms full of receivers and computers, the doughnut would
also resemble a small town with banks, shops, a health center, a gym”
and a small pond in the center "hole" bordered by dish-shaped antennas.
Surrounding the revolutionary building would be spaces for 1,750 cars
and 200 bikes, arranged in concentric rings.
Auditors have recently warned that the doughnut's costs appear to be
on the verge of spiraling out of control. Nevertheless, other GCHQ
facilities are also planned for the site, including a science park of high-
tech buildings. It was hoped that the project would be completed by
2003. At that time, the old headquarters would be turned into a 500-
house development with a supermarket, video shop, and takeout
restaurant.
Despite the end of the Cold War, the dawn of the new century, and
the many internal and external changes at GCHQ and NSA, the secret
relationship between the two partners promises to remain as close as it
was sixty years ago, during the darkest days of World War II. Addressing
a group in NSA's Friedman Auditorium in the fall of 1999, director
Hayden said he had just returned from a visit with his counterparts in
England. Then he added enthusiastically: "We must go back to our roots
with GCHQ."


Like GCHQ, the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) rose
from the ashes of World War II, during which its Central Bureau played a
large role in eavesdropping on the Japanese and attacking their codes.
Following the war, a number of listening posts were built, and Australian
intercept operators worked jointly with employees of GCHQ at listening
posts in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Today DSD is headquartered at Victoria Barracks, a modern glass
government facility on St. Kilda Road in Melbourne. Compared with NSA


337
and GCHQ, DSD is tiny, with about 500 civilians, most of whom work at
headquarters, and about 500 military intercept operators. Despite the
agency's small size, because of Australia's strategic location it is able to
contribute considerable signals intelligence on its neighbors to NSA and
the other UKUSA partners. According to Australian intelligence
documents, this material has included such things as Japanese, South
Korean, and Pakistani diplomatic traffic, rebel communications in
southern Africa, and border conflicts between Iran and Iraq. For years
DSD was also able to provide early tipoffs on French nuclear tests in the
South Pacific. This allowed the United States to position aircraft and
naval vessels to monitor the detonations and determine the bombs' yield
and other technical details.
Next to Victoria Barracks is a boxy, windowless building that looks
like a warehouse for dry goods. In fact, for many years it was a major
listening post for eavesdropping on China and western Russia. In the
early 1980s, many British and Australian intercept operators were pulled
out of Hong Kong and the antennas became largely remoted. Giant
dishes automatically collected the signals, which were in turn
retransmitted by satellite to Melbourne, nearly 5,000 miles away. The
listening post's cover name was the Joint Telecommunications Unit
Melbourne.
Finally, the newest and smallest member of the UKUSA club is New
Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB),
formally established in 1977. During World War II, as the Japanese war
machine pushed rapidly across the Pacific, gobbling up islands, New
Zealand quickly built a number of signals intelligence stations, which
contributed to the British and American Sigint effort. They were
controlled from Defence House, a seven-story building on Stout Street in
Wellington.
After the war, the intercept service was abandoned and New Zealand
contributed some members to Australia's postwar codebreaking and
eavesdropping organization, the Defence Signals Bureau. Nevertheless, a
small listening post was built on a bleak volcanic plateau at Waiouru in
the central part of North Island. Eventually named the New Zealand
Combined Signals Organisation, it contributed to the Sigint effort during
the war in Vietnam.
Today, the headquarters for the GCSB occupies the top floors of the
Freyberg Building, opposite Parliament, in Wellington. Concentrating
mostly on the Pacific Rim and small island nations, it has a high-
frequency listening post at Tangimoana Beach, about 225 miles north of
Wellington. A satellite interception facility was opened at Waihopai; it
targets, among other things, diplomatic communications to and from
Japanese embassies around the Pacific. In 2001 GCSB employed about
200 people and had a budget of about $20 million (Australian). Its


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director was Warren Tucker, who joined the agency in 1982 and before
that served as liaison to NSA.


With the admission of New Zealand's GCSB in 1977, the major
English-speaking nations of the world were joined in a highly secret
agreement to eavesdrop on the rest of the world, friend as well as foe.
Over the years, the UKUSA partnership would develop into a unique
supranational body, complete with its own laws, oaths, and language, all
hidden from public view. As a sovereign nation has a body of laws, so
UKUSA has a body of secrets. The International Regulations on Sigint
govern the actions of the multinational cyberspies, from the wording of
their indoctrination oaths to the format of their intercept forms to their
unique cryptospeak of codewords and covernames.
Once those rules were firmly in place in the 1970s, NSA set out to
weld the individual members together into a virtual nation, with Crypto
City as its capital. It did this by building a massive computer network,
codenamed Platform, which tied together fifty-two separate computer
systems belonging to all the members around the world. The focal point,
or "host environment," for the massive network was NSA headquarters at
Fort Meade. Finally, to do away with formal borders, a software package
was developed to turn the partners' worldwide Sigint operation into a
unified whole. Agencies would be able to submit targets to one another's
listening posts and, likewise, everyone would be allowed to share in the

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