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Exclusive: NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes.

The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands. "GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight," a GCHQ strategy briefing said.

The funding underlines the closeness of the relationship between GCHQ and its US equivalent, the National Security Agency. But it will raise fears about the hold Washington has over the UK's biggest and most important intelligence agency, and whether Britain's dependency on the NSA has become too great.

The British have never found it necessary to draw up a document with "constitution" at the top of it. Certainly a constitutional monarchy has evolved there over the centuries and in practice they have many similar civil liberties to those that we think we have in the US. However, the government is not bound by the same sorts of check and balances and constitutional constraints such as the 4th amendment to the US constitution. For this reason there has long been a reciprocal relationship between the security apparatus in the two countries. The Guardian had previously revealed arrangements whereby they could collect internet information on each other's citizens and then exchange it while claiming that they were only spying on foreigners. Now it is revealed that NSA is paying the bill for much of this.

Remember when Desmond Tutu called Tony Blair George Bush's poodle during the invasion of Iraq? Well it looks like Obama has bought a kennel.

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