Watchdog demands GCHQ report on NSA’s UK data storage


The watchdog tasked with scrutinising the work of Britain's intelligence agencies is to demand an urgent report from GCHQ about revelations that the phone, internet and email records of British citizens have been analysed and stored by America's National Security Agency.

Sir , the chair of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, told the Guardian he would be seeking an explanation of a secret deal that appeared to allow the NSA to "unmask" personal data about Britons not suspected of any wrongdoing.

This material had always been off-limits because the US and UK are the two main partners in an intelligence-sharing alliance – and the governments had agreed not to spy on each other's citizens.

But that code of conduct changed fundamentally in 2007, with the approval of British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Rifkind, whose committee is under tremendous pressure to prove it can credibly keep tabs on UK's spy agencies, said on Thursday: "As with any significant stories concerning any of the intelligence agencies, we will require and receive a full report from them on this."

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, also reacted to the latest disclosures, which were made in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Channel 4 News, saying the case was growing for a broad-ranging inquiry into the activities and oversight of GCHQ, MI5 and MI6.

"My view is with each passing day there is a stronger and stronger case … to look at this in the round." He said the flow of information from the Snowden files was chipping away at public support for the intelligence and security services, which he said could be dangerous.

Clegg said technological advances meant the capabilities now..

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