World
Head of UK's GCHQ eavesdropping agency to step down
Publish Date: Jan 29, 2014
Head of UK's GCHQ eavesdropping agency to step down
An undated handout file picture received from Channel 4 on December 24, 2013 shows US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden (AFP Photo/)
  • mail
  • img
newvision

The head of GCHQ, the secret eavesdropping agency that has come under scrutiny following leaks by former US analyst Edward Snowden, is to stand down.

Iain Lobban, 53, will leave the agency later this year after serving nearly six years as director, the Foreign Office said.

It denied that his departure was related to revelations contained in Snowden's leaked documents that GCHQ was one of the main players in mass telecommunications surveillance.

"Today is simply about starting the process of ensuring we have a suitable successor in place before he moves on as planned at the end of the year," said a Foreign Office spokesman on Tuesday.

The Government Communications Headquarters -- a giant, ring-shaped building nicknamed "the doughnut" -- is situated in the spa town of Cheltenham in southwest England.

It is at the heart of Britain's "special relationship" with the United States when it comes to spying, according to the documents.

They claim the NSA secretly funded GCHQ to the tune of £100 million ($160 million, 120 million euros) over the last three years.

One of Snowden's revelations was that Britain was running a secret Internet monitoring station in the Middle East, intercepting phone calls and online traffic, with the information processed and passed to GCHQ.

It also tapped into more than 200 fibre-optic telecommunications cables, including transatlantic ones, and was handling 600 million "telephone events" each day, according to Snowden.

"They are worse than the US," Snowden told The Guardian.

Called to appear before a parliamentary committee last November in response to the Snowden leaks, Lobban insisted the agency was not conducting mass snooping on the British public.

"We do not spend our time listening to the telephone calls or reading the e-mails of the majority," he said.

It was the first time a head of the agency had given evidence in public.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Virginity worth $5,000, rules court in China
A Chinese woman who sued a man for "violating her right to virginity" after he wooed her with false promises has been awarded nearly $5,000 by a court....
Rushed evacuations as Philippine volcano spews lava
Lava cascaded down the Philippines' most active volcano on Wednesday as authorities rushed to evacuate thousands ahead of a possible deadly eruption....
German chancellor wins S. Korea peace prize
Angela Merkel was awarded the 2014 Seoul Peace Prize Wednesday for acknowledging Germany's wartime crimes....
S. Korea arrests US man trying to swim to N. Korea
South Korean soldiers detained a US citizen trying to swim across the river border into North Korea - reportedly to meet leader Kim Jong-Un....
Ebola death toll climbs to 2,461
THE deadliest Ebola epidemic on record has now infected nearly 5,000 people in west Africa and killed around half of them, the World Health Organization has revealed...
1976 Entebbe raid: Ex-intelligence chief dies
Yitzhak Hofi, who played a key role in a 1976 Entebbe operation to free the passengers of a hijacked plane, has died at 87....
Will early retirement solve Uganda’s unemployment problem?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter