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
Ukraine accuses Russia of
Ukraine on Friday accused Moscow of invading after Russia unilaterally sent the first part of its mammoth aid convoy into east Ukraine, warning against any attacks on the trucks....
Islamic State
The Islamic State poses a greater danger than a conventional "terrorist group" and is pursuing a vision that could radically alter the face of the Middle East, US defense leaders say....
Malaysia in mourning as MH17 remains return home
Malaysia will drape itself in black for a national day of mourning Friday as it welcomes home the remains of 20 citizens killed on downed Flight MH17....
Pope calls family of slain US journalist
Pope Francis called the family of slain US journalist James Foley on Thursday to offer his condolences, a Catholic priest close to the family said....
Executed US journalist
Journalist James Foley's jihadist captors sent his family a taunting and rambling email threatening to kill him, just a week before making public a video of his execution....
Hyundai Motor workers to go on strike
Workers at South Korea''s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. will launch a limited strike Friday to press their demands for wage hikes....
Will strict traffic laws reduce road accidents?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter