Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Working on behalf of Western intelligence agencies, Britain has operated a secret surveillance post in the Middle East that taps into undersea fiber-optic cables to siphon off Internet and telephone communications, The Independent newspaper reported Thursday.
The spy station's existence was noted in documents that Edward Snowden downloaded in 2012 while he worked at the National Security Agency and leaked to TheGuardian, the Independent's sister publication.
Everything traveling through the underwater cables to the region is copied onto massive computer storage buffers, sifted, then passed along to the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the NSA, the paper writes.
The Independent said it was not revealing the location of the spy post, which the British government says provides a crucial "early warning" system of potential terror attacks.
The Independent said it "understands" that the Guardian agreed to the British government's request to not publish material in the Snowden trove that could damage national security.
The latest revelation comes a day after British authorities opened a terrorism investigation into information found on the computer of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who first disclosed Snowden's evidence of widespread and indiscriminate NSA surveillance.
Miranda won a partial legal victory Thursday. A British court issued a temporary injunction blocking the government from using or sharing material seized from him Sunday at Heathrow Airport.