Prism already looked like a pretty far-reaching program, but a new report claims the NSA also gave at least one foreign security agency access to this system. According to a report in the Guardian, the NSA provided the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) with access to Prism since at least June 2010.
The U.S. has now acknowledged that Prism exists, though Google, Apple and all of the other companies named in the original leak continue to say that they are not giving the U.S. government “direct access” to their servers, as the leak claims. The U.S.’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper yesterday argued that the program only exists to spy on foreign citizens, but it seems clear that no matter the intentions, the program was far more wide-reaching than this.
The U.K. GCHQ, the report claims, generated 197 intelligence reports from Prism in the first half of 2012. It’s unclear if the organization had full access to Prism. The Guardian’s report suggests that it was “able to receive material from a bespoke part of the programme to suit British interests.”
So far, we haven’t heard about any additional U.S. allies who received access to this data, but if the NSA provided the U.K. with a direct line into Prism and the aim of the program was indeed to spy on foreign citizens, it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if others had access, too.