16 March 1998: Add Sommer message

3 March 1998

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 23:35:59
To: ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk
From: Duncan Campbell <duncan@gn.apc.org>
Subject: Original sources regarding the ECHELON sigint network

>>The New York times has recently run a story regarding a "telecommunications
>>interception network" operating in Europe.
>>My recollection is that news broke about this some time last year, thanks
>>to revelations in New Zealand. Sorry, I don't have a good reference to

The original and primary source for information on ECHELON is an article I
wrote in New Statesman magazine ten years ago : NS, 12 August 1988 :
"They've got it taped".  

In 1991, a UK World in Action programme added an important new detail about
the network, namely the presence of a DICTIONARY computer (a key part of
the system) at  GCHQ's processing centre in Westminster.  

In 1993, I produced a documentary for Channel 4 - "The Hill" which related
ECHELON to the work of the Menwith Hill NSA field station near Harrogate in

In 1996, Nicky Hager in New Zealand described in his book "Secret Power"
the presence of DICTIONARY computers at two New Zealand sigint stations,
and gave extensive details of the local programming and tasking of the
ECHELON "dictionaries".  

Apart from these sources, so far as I am aware all the reports that are
around are derivative and reprocessed.  The European Parliament STOA
committee report from the "Omega Foundation" is in this category and was in
fact submitted rather more than a year ago.  If anyone is aware of any
other *original* publication on this topic, could they post it. The arrival
in the public domain of original information in this area is a rarity, yet
is the foundation for the only things we "know" about the scale of NSA/GCHQ
surveillance and processing. 

Duncan Campbell 

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 8:17 +0000 (GMT) From: hcorn@cix.co.uk (Peter Sommer) Subject: RE: HOC Library on US Sigint in Europe To: ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk As far as I know the first written public hint about UKUSA agreement came in a 1972 article in Ramparts magazine from a then-anonymous Winslow Peck. It explained the role of various NSA eavesdropping stations (in those days, HF rather than satellite). In the UK the Guardian mentioned the article and, if memory serves, pinpointed Chicksands in Bedforsdhire as one location. Duncan will correct me, but this article helped him in his researches at the time. James Bamford's "Puzzle Palace" (1982), that great souce book on the NSA, has several pages on the scope of UKSUA while Jeffrey Richelson and Desmond Ball's 1985 book, "The Ties that Bind" was specifically about the UKUSA. Duncan has already provided his own bibliography. Why is it, I wonder, always more exciting to hear about rumoured "revelations" than to take a trip to the library or punch a few words into the right databases?