Talk:Government Communications Headquarters

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Government Communications Headquarters:

Most successful etc[edit]

Removed: "It is the most successful and advanced listening station in the Western World." I don't see how this could ever be verified given that governments are generally less that enthusiastic in publicizing their intelligence capabilities. -- anon

Quite, and the NSA are almost certainly more successful and advanced. — Matt Crypto 16:59, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
I doubt it. I expect they are both as successful and advanced as they are required to be. As we are never allowed to see the output of GCHQ, despite been forced to fund it via taxes, we can never know whether it is successful or not.Markb 09:41, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Nickname[edit]

Amongst insiders, the organisation is gaining the nickname "The Jam" (since it can be found inside a doughnut).

An anonymous contributor removed this, and I can't verify it; I've moved it here in case anyone can cite a source. — Matt 23:07, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It was in a BBC News article, IIRC.
James F. (talk) 15:25, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Name change: GC&CS -> GCHQ[edit]

When did GC&CS change its name to GCHQ? I've come across different versions: some pinpoint it at around 1942, others say 1946. (I'll try and dig them up). — Matt Crypto 23:03, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

I found a document in the PRO from 1942 which suggests using the "GCHQ" as a cover name for Bletchley Park, but it could well be that this was a covername for the BP site, while the entire organisation was still offically known as GC&CS (work was done elsewhere apart from BP) until 1946. — Matt Crypto 15:21, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Just found this reference, too in Michael Smith, Station X, Channel 4 Books, 1998, ISBN 0330419293: "In June 1946, GC&CS adopted its wartime covername Government Communications Headquarters" as its new title" (p. 176). — Matt Crypto 15:27, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

?npov[edit]

Why on earth is 'fired' more npov than 'sacked'? As far as I know, 'fired' is the American word for 'sacked': both mean 'summarily dismissed'. Since this is a UK article, it ought to be 'sacked'. Myopic Bookworm 15:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

That's what I thought, too. I agree that "sacked" is fine in a UK topic article. — Matt Crypto 17:02, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Potential sources to use[edit]

  • Richard J. Aldrich, GCHQ and Siginit in the Early Cold War 1945-70, Intelligence & National Security, Volume 16, Number 1 / Spring 2001, 67 - 96
  • Nigel West, GCHQ: the Secret Wireless War, 1900-86, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.

— Matt Crypto 11:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)


GC&CS and SIS[edit]

ISTR in reading Stewart Menzies biography C, that GC&CS was part of SIS after it was moved to the FCO from Admiralty. This remained the case until after WWII when it had got to a sufficient size that it could operate independently of SIS and split out. As a result of this Menzies had close control of the ULTRA intercept material generated from Bletchley. I haven't got access to the book at the moment but can anyone corroborate this from another source?ALR 16:44, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I cannot corroborate, but rather contradict: it was not part of SIS, though it reported to the head of the Secret Service. GC&CS by 1922 transferred to the Foreign Office, under the Chief of the Secret Service, to which service however, it did not belong. John Johnson, "The Evolution of British Sigint 1653-1939" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Myopic Bookworm (talkcontribs) 20:50, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the first part:

  • "Menzies redesignated himself Director-General and promoted Travis to overall Director of GC&CS...these arrangements prevailed until the end of the Second World War. After the war, GCHQ managed to escape from the control of "C" and disengage itself from the even more fraught management problems of MI6." (Philip H. J. Davies, "From Amateurs to Professionals: GC&CS and Institution-building in SIGINT", pp. 386-402 in Action this Day edited by Ralph Erskine and Michael Smith, 2001)
  • Other than its head and a shared location for a time, GC&CS was separate to SIS: "GC&CS...formed initially in the Admiralty, but by 1922 transferred to the Foreign Office, under the Chief of the Secret Service, to which service, however, it did not belong...apart from the co-location and the common head there appears to have been no other connection, administratively or operationally, between the two organisations". (p. 43-44 in John Johnson, The Evolution of British Sigint: 1653–1939, 1997) (as noted by Myopic Bookworm above; we had an edit conflict).

I don't know how much influence and control this gave Menzies over ULTRA, or whether he used this influence to improve the standing of SIS in the government (as our Stewart Menzies article states, but doesn't cite specific sources for). — Matt Crypto 20:55, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

OK, so the two had the same head and they were co-located? GC&CS formed in the Admiralty and SIS originated as the Naval Section? Call me a bluff old traditionalist but that looks remarkably like they were the same organisation. although I note that both those sources are later than the Biog which as I recall is mid to late 80s.
In practical terms I can fully understand why the work of HUMINTers and SIGINTers wouldn't be integrated, they are different disciplines and whilst one does tend to cue the other the actual practice differs significantly.
According to the Biography Menzies controlled the access list for the ULTRA compartment and it's international release.
ALR 16:06, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I've just found this very pertinent official SIS web page; it describes the relationship between GCCS & GCHQ with SIS. It says that:
"By 1926 SIS and GC&CS shared Broadway Buildings (54 Broadway, St James's), performing distinct activities and occupying different floors. In his GC&CS role, Sinclair took the title 'Director of GC&CS'. Denniston and his deputy Edward Travis reported to him. Although Sinclair was not involved in the day-to-day operations of code-breaking and construction, he or other senior SIS staff represented GC&CS over matters such as foreign relations and inter-departmental arrangements for radio and cable interception. Senior promotions, financial questions and internal organisation within GC&CS were approved by him. In July 1938 Sinclair purchased Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire as a wartime evacuation location for both his organisations. Both moved there in August 1939."
— Matt Crypto 17:41, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

ECHELON[edit]

The article says that the ECHELON section needs references. Would any of these be suitable for use as references?

The European Parliament had a sub-committee that reported on Echelon. I don't know if that counts as 'authoritative' or whatever. Here's a link to the European Parliament PDF report:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+REPORT+A5-2001-0264+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN

The cryptome website has some useful information.

http://cryptome.org/echelon-ep.htm

And this page has some links to US news papers.

http://www.fas.org/irp/program/process/echelon.htm

DanBeale 20:08, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

GCCS officially formed on 1 November 1919,[8] and produced its first decrypt on 19 October. - 19th of october? what year? Surely the first decrypt wasnt made before it was formed? Its capabilities are suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world's transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic, primarily by way of satellite intercepts. - isn't most data transferred via fibre these days?

-- The Anonymous Pedant —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.209.19.111 (talk) 23:27, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Organisation section[edit]

The organisation section references Bamford and an organisation as of 1983. Is this really all that meaningful, since Cheltenham has undergone several rounds of business change, including a significant downsizing to move into the new build and then an unplift requiring the retention of the Oakley site as well as a significant change of focus from the USSR to CT andassymetric threats? I'd suggest that it's more meaningful to just talk in general terms; management, technology, collection planning, collection, analysis and dissemination. those are likely to survive any business change as these are the SIGINT activities.

I'd just go ahead and do it, but since it excises quite a chunk of the article I thought it would be better to discuss it first, in case anyone gets worked up about the fact that it's sourced.

Any thoughts? ALR (talk) 13:18, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree it looked very dated: I have updated it Dormskirk (talk) 14:26, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Overview of British intelligence - new article[edit]

I have created a United Kingdom intelligence community page where we can address the broad issues, such as the relative scope of MI5 and MI6 (as mentioned here). Starting with the list of key agencies shown at the global List of intelligence agencies. It should provide an appropriate place to deal with some of the ambiguities that the present atomised articles fail to cover well.

To discuss, please use this Talk page. Earthlyreason (talk) 07:03, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

GCHQ and the constitution[edit]

1) The title of this section is overblown: the paragraph only relates a minor legal decision, not any constitutional position of GCHQ.The history of the sacking and reemployment of GCHQ staff for union activities is much more relevant to the article, under a different heading.

2) The rationale of the judgement seems at best of marginal relevance. Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service reconfirmed the scope of judicial review of the exercise of prerogative powers (the Crown's residual powers under common law). It happened to concern GCHQ, but that seems no more relevant than the location of a road accident or any other litigated event. Would it be better omitted, or linked to an article on judicial review? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jezzabr (talkcontribs) 23:57, 6 January 2009 (UTC)


No, i think it is a suitable statment, as the case effectivley defines what bits of the state can be "sued" by a citizen, that is which decisions of branches of government a citizen can request for a judge to review. (although of course unlike many other states the judge doesn't have the authority to overturn decisions, jsut ask govt. to change the decisions so it complies with law)

also on another constitutional point the minister responsible should be the Primeminister who is the head of security services, rather than david milliband, the minister in charge of the funding department? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.142.183.57 (talk) 17:22, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

GCHQ isn't funded by FCO, it's funded by the Single Intelligence Account, which is managed by Cabinet Office. It is accountable to the Foreign Secretary though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.233.60.26 (talk) 09:13, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

GCCS or GC&CS[edit]

Richard Aldrich's book "GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency" is surely the definitive authority on the subject and uses GC&CS rather than GCCS throughout. I therefore suggest that it is appropriate to use the ampersand version of the abbreviation in this article.--TedColes (talk) 17:31, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

References to books are incorrect[edit]

A few of the references points to what seems like a surname, year and a page without any ISDN or further documentation where you can actually find these. For example, look at reference 1, 4, 5 and 6. Are they replaceable or traceable? I've been searching with no success. Steamruler (talk) 18:27, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

I just realized that these are infact references to books but is done incorrectly so they are unclickable. I have no idea how to fix it so can someone else do it? Steamruler (talk) 20:28, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

The Guardian articles about GCHQ spying, referring to documents leaked by Edward Snowden[edit]

Here are some articles from The Guardian about GCHQ spying, referring to documents leaked by Edward Snowden

CNN also posted this:

WhisperToMe (talk) 18:34, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

SCMP articles on GCHQ spying[edit]

WhisperToMe (talk) 17:09, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

GCHQ surveillance template[edit]

I've just started a new GCHQ surveillance template which is based on the NSAs equivalent surveillance template. It could do with some more info and eyes on it before possible inclusion in this article near the history section. To discuss the template, not it's inclusion here, please use the Talk page for it. Aluxosm (talk) 20:30, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Invitation to help craft a proposal[edit]

Surveillance awareness day is a proposal for the English Wikipedia to take special steps to promote awareness of global surveillance on February 11, 2014. That date is chosen to coincide with similar actions being taken by organizations such as Mozilla, Reddit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Feedback from editors of this article would be greatly appreciated. Please come join us as we brainstorm, polish, and present this proposal to the Wikipedia Community. --HectorMoffet (talk) 12:30, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Blacklisted Links Found on the Main Page[edit]

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And were do you find the 'Black List' ? -- Narnia.Gate7 (talk) 22:02, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

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