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Edward Snowden says British spy agency GCHQ 'worse' than NSA

National Security Agency whistleblower Snowden tells the Guardian that GCHQ can tap worldwide phone calls and email.

fiber optic cables fibreopticsEnlarge
Edward Snowden told the Guardian newspaper on June 21, 2013, that the British spy agency GCHQ has access to worldwide phone calls and email messages through a network of fiber-optic cables. (William Thomas Cain/AFP/Getty Images)

Edward Snowden isn’t finished dropping bombshells, telling the Guardian newspaper on Friday that the National Security Agency has a more prolific, British ally in the spy organization GCHQ.

The now infamous whistleblower, a former contractor who revealed the NSA is monitoring cellphone and internet communications, said Great Britain has access to as much and more information.

“It’s not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight,” Snowden told the Guardian. “They [GCHQ] are worse than the US.”

According to Snowden, the GCHQ can access fiber-optic cables and record phone calls, read email and Facebook postings and review website traffic.

The Guardian said the practice is legal, but subject to little scrutiny.

Snowden first disclosed details of the US government’s vast phone and Internet surveillance.

He was a contractor formerly employed by Booz Allen Hamilton who worked at a NSA in Hawaii, Reuters reported.

Snowden is currently in hiding, thought to be underground in Hong Kong.

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The 18-month GCHQ operation, code named Tempora, taps cables that carry global communications with the potential to carry 600 million daily “telephone events.”

A source told Sky News that none of the work GCHQ is doing is illegal.

“If GCHQ have been intercepting huge numbers of innocent people's communications as part of a massive sweeping exercise, then I struggle to see how that squares with a process that requires a warrant for each individual intercept,” said Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickes.

“This question must be urgently addressed in Parliament.”

The GCHQ is one of three UK intelligence agencies alongside MI5 and MI6.

“All our operations are conducted within a framework of legislation that defines our roles and activities,” it says on the GCHQ website.

It addresses the “challenges of a changing and uncertain world and places cyber-attack in the top tier of risks, alongside international terrorism, a major industrial accident or natural disaster, and international military crisis.”

More from GlobalPost: China v. Edward Snowden 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130621/edward-snowden-gchq-tempora-worse-nsa-prism