US News: A century of protecting Britain: How GCHQ has evolved from a naval intelligence office in Whitehall to a world-beating surveillance operation - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News A century of protecting Britain: How GCHQ has evolved from a naval intelligence office in Whitehall to a world-beating surveillance operation

04:25  01 november  2019
04:25  01 november  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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A century of protecting Britain : How GCHQ has evolved from a naval intelligence office in Whitehall to a world - beating surveillance operation . GCHQ was founded on November 1, 1919 when the government combined two rival intelligence bodies. The Admiralty's Room 40 and the War

The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) is the military intelligence agency of the United States Navy. Established in 1882 primarily to advance the Navy's modernization efforts

a sign on the side of a road: The Government Communications Head Quarters - more commonly known as GCHQ - will today celebrate its 100th anniversary after a decision was made on November 1, 1919 to combine the Admiralty's Room 40 - where the code breakers worked  - and staff from the War Office's MI1(b). This photograph was taken in October 1982 - shortly before the organisation's official existence was announced © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Government Communications Head Quarters - more commonly known as GCHQ - will today celebrate its 100th anniversary after a decision was made on November 1, 1919 to combine the Admiralty's Room 40 - where the code breakers worked  - and staff from the War Office's MI1(b). This photograph was taken in October 1982 - shortly before the organisation's official existence was announced Rapid changes in technology are posing 'unique challenges' to the security services which will face 'enormous complexity' in the future, the boss of GCHQ has said.

Speaking 100 years since Government Communications Headquarters was formed, director Jeremy Fleming described society as being in a 'period of accelerated change' with technological advances leaving the spy agency needing to alter the way it works.

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GCHQ, which rarely speaks publicly about its work but has tried to become less secretive in recent years, is marking its centenary with a series of events including an exhibition at the Science Museum in London.

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Mr Fleming said: 'We're living through a period of accelerated change in terms of technology: that comes with huge advantages and unique challenges for society. It means the way we work is changing.

'But throughout our history we have always tackled developments in communications to stay one step ahead.

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'We have always risen to the challenge that change brings.'

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a screen shot of a video game: This photograph taken on November 17, 2015 shows three analysts monitoring their work stations in the 24-hour Operations Room at the heart of GCHQ © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited This photograph taken on November 17, 2015 shows three analysts monitoring their work stations in the 24-hour Operations Room at the heart of GCHQ Mr Fleming described the Five Eyes intelligence group - made up of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada which will mark its 75th anniversary in 2021 - as an 'extraordinary partnership that plays a pivotal part in global security and stability, and still stands strong today.'

GCHQ was set up on November 1 1919 as a peacetime 'cryptanalytic' unit made up from staff from the Admiralty's Room 40 and the War Office's MI1(b).

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During the Second World War, personnel moved to Bletchley Park where they decrypted German messages, most famously by breaking the Enigma code.

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The use of electronic surveillance by the United Kingdom grew from the development of signal intelligence and pioneering code breaking during World War II.

The Foreign Intelligence Committee was established in 1882[2] and it evolved into the Naval Fisher created the Navy War Council as a stop-gap remedy to criticisms emanating from the Beresford Inquiry that the Navy needed a naval staff—a It has described as the most significant intelligence triumph for Britain during World War I,[7] and Office of the Additional Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord.

The agency's best-known former member of staff is Alan Turing, the wartime code-breaker and pioneer of computer science who had a 'fearless approach to daunting problems'.

Turing, who is to appear on the Bank of England's next £50 note when it enters circulation by end of 2021, played a pivotal role at Bletchley Park in breaking the code which is said to have helped to shorten the length of the Second World War by years, saving millions of lives.

GCHQ monitors communications around the world around the clock and provides signal intelligence to the armed forces and the government. Speaking today, it's director director Jeremy Fleming described society as being in a 'period of accelerated change' with technological advances leaving the spy agency needing to alter the way it works © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited GCHQ monitors communications around the world around the clock and provides signal intelligence to the armed forces and the government. Speaking today, it's director director Jeremy Fleming described society as being in a 'period of accelerated change' with technological advances leaving the spy agency needing to alter the way it works

GCHQ regards his technical innovations as 'ahead of their time' and they still inform its work today.

In the early 1950s, the service moved its headquarters from the London suburbs of Eastcote to Cheltenham but it also moved to other offices in the centre of the capital to keep a base for handling secret paperwork.

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In April the location, which had been the London base for more than 65 years, was revealed.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ said: 'Throughout our history we have always tackled developments in communications to stay one step ahead. 'We have always risen to the challenge that change brings' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ said: 'Throughout our history we have always tackled developments in communications to stay one step ahead. 'We have always risen to the challenge that change brings'

Unknown to the public, intelligence officers worked to protect national security from the drab-looking building on Palmer Street, opposite St James's Park Tube station in Westminster, since 1953.

Known as Britain's listening post, it also has bases in Bude in Cornwall, Scarborough, Lincolnshire and Harrogate, with another office in Manchester due to open by the end of the year.

Its existence was not publicly acknowledged until 1983.

GCHQ - A century of protecting Britain 

a bench in front of a building: Known as Britain's listening post, it also has bases in Bude in Cornwall, Scarborough, Lincolnshire and Harrogate, with another office in Manchester due to open by the end of the year © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Known as Britain's listening post, it also has bases in Bude in Cornwall, Scarborough, Lincolnshire and Harrogate, with another office in Manchester due to open by the end of the year 1919: GCHQ is formed under the original name of the Government Code & Cypher School (GC&CS) after a merger between Room 40 (naval intelligence) and MI1(b) (military intelligence). Its first home was in London at Watergate House.

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1926: GC&CS buys its first Enigma machine.

1939: GC&CS is given the cover name GCHQ to better disguise its secret work when it moved to its wartime home at Bletchley Park.

1946: The UKUSA agreement was signed and became the 'cornerstone' of the Five Eyes partnership in which the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada now share intelligence.

- GCHQ moves to Eastcote, in Greater London.

1950: GCHQ moves to Cheltenham (completed 1954).

a flat screen tv sitting in front of a television: For much of its existence, the government refused to publicly acknowledge GCHQ's existence or the vital role it played during WWII with its site at Bletchley Park, which was used to decode German naval signals © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited For much of its existence, the government refused to publicly acknowledge GCHQ's existence or the vital role it played during WWII with its site at Bletchley Park, which was used to decode German naval signals

1983: GCHQ is avowed - publicly acknowledged - in Parliament for the first time.

1984: Trade unions are banned at GCHQ.

1994: The Intelligence Services Act puts new legal duties on GCHQ.

1997: Trade Union ban lifted for GCHQ workers.

a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a wooden bench: GCHQ has developed a Centenary Kitchen Garden to celebrate it's 100th anniversary © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited GCHQ has developed a Centenary Kitchen Garden to celebrate it's 100th anniversary

2016: Investigatory Powers Act is brought in to provide oversight of the intelligence agencies.

2019: GCHQ's office in Manchester set to open.

- November 1: GCHQ turns 100.

Working alongside MI5 and MI6, over the years GCHQ has looked to tackle serious cyber, terrorist, criminal, and state threats and attacks, including investigating the Novichok poisoning in March last year.

Mr Fleming said: 'For GCHQ, it has been a century of shortening wars, saving lives and giving the UK a technical edge. Our centenary is a chance to celebrate those achievements and to thank those men and women who have given themselves to this work. But it is also a chance to look forward. I can't predict what GCHQ will look like 100 years from now' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Fleming said: 'For GCHQ, it has been a century of shortening wars, saving lives and giving the UK a technical edge. Our centenary is a chance to celebrate those achievements and to thank those men and women who have given themselves to this work. But it is also a chance to look forward. I can't predict what GCHQ will look like 100 years from now'

It helped foil 23 attacks against the nation in the last four years and over 2017/18 it helped disrupt terrorist operations in at least four European countries.

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This usage evolved as a code name, and has been adhered to by all subsequent directors of SIS Circulating Sections established intelligence requirements and passed the intelligence back to its Around 1920, it began increasingly to be referred to as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a title

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Mr Fleming said: 'For GCHQ, it has been a century of shortening wars, saving lives and giving the UK a technical edge.

a statue in front of a building: GCHQ allowed access to their facility - which remained a state secret until 1983 on the anniversary of their creation © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited GCHQ allowed access to their facility - which remained a state secret until 1983 on the anniversary of their creation

'Our centenary is a chance to celebrate those achievements and to thank those men and women who have given themselves to this work. But it is also a chance to look forward.

'I can't predict what GCHQ will look like 100 years from now.

'Who we are has been shaped by the changing threats and technology around us.

a group of people standing in front of a building: An area known as 'The Street' offers staff at GCHQ different food options while working on their highly sensitive projects © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited An area known as 'The Street' offers staff at GCHQ different food options while working on their highly sensitive projects

'In the future we will continue to face enormous complexity but also enormous opportunity.'

He said although hugely different to the organisation that began back in 1919, there was 'much that is recognisable in our DNA'.

He added that while GCHQ 'cannot shout about our mission', he welcomed a shift towards it being 'increasingly transparent'.

a room with a large screen: Analysts can intercept communications from around the world from GCHQ, providing advance warning on possible threats in Britain and around the world © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Analysts can intercept communications from around the world from GCHQ, providing advance warning on possible threats in Britain and around the world

In 2016, GCHQ became the first of the country's spy agencies on Twitter and has since joined Instagram.  

Some high-profile successes from GCHQ's archives  

a vintage photo of Arthur Zimmermann wearing a suit and tie: German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann, pictured, proposed an alliance with Mexico if the United States joined the war on the side of the allies. Mexico was told they would receive Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the event of an allied defeat. Experts in Room 40 of the Admiralty intercepted the telegram and it was later leaked to US newspapers © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann, pictured, proposed an alliance with Mexico if the United States joined the war on the side of the allies. Mexico was told they would receive Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the event of an allied defeat. Experts in Room 40 of the Admiralty intercepted the telegram and it was later leaked to US newspapers

Tony Comer - who has worked for GCHQ for 36 years and has spent the last 10 as its historian - picks high-profile moments from its history.

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The Zimmermann telegram:

In January 1917, GCHQ's predecessors in Room 40 of the Admiralty produced an intelligence report that contributed to the United States, which was still neutral at that point, entering the First World War on the Allied side.

The German Foreign Minister, Arthur Zimmermann, proposed an alliance with Mexico: if the US joined the Allied side in the war and Mexico would ally itself with Germany, it would receive Texas, New Mexico and Arizona as prizes after the defeat of the Allies.

The message was intercepted by the UK and read on January 17, with its importance quickly realised.

a building with a large screen: Code breakers at Bletchley Park used Enigma machines to crack German naval signals during the Second World War. This Enigman machine is located in GCHQ's headquarters building in Cheltenham © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Code breakers at Bletchley Park used Enigma machines to crack German naval signals during the Second World War. This Enigman machine is located in GCHQ's headquarters building in Cheltenham

A copy of the message between the German Embassies in Washington and Mexico City was shown to the US Embassy in London.

It was leaked to the US press and was front page in most US newspapers on March 1 1917.

Zimmermann publicly announced that the telegram was authentic, and in April the United States declared war on Germany.

Breaking the Enigma code:

a close up of text on a wooden table: Details of those who worked at Bletchley Park have been preserved and used as an exhibit in GCHQ's head quarters © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Details of those who worked at Bletchley Park have been preserved and used as an exhibit in GCHQ's head quarters The Enigma machine was invented by a German engineer Arthur Scherbius shortly after the First World War.

Dilly Knox, one of the former British First World War codebreakers, was convinced he could break the military version of the system and set up an Enigma Research Section, comprising himself and Tony Kendrick, later joined by Peter Twinn, Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman: their success was built on a foundation of the success of Polish cryptanalysts before them.

They worked in the stable yard at Bletchley Park and that is where the first wartime Enigma messages were broken by the UK in January 1940 during the Second World War.

a close up of a newspaper: The forerunner for GCHQ sought volunteers during 1938 who could be recruited at the outbreak for war. They wanted people who were promising mathematicians and linguists - as well as those with code breaking experience from the First World War © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The forerunner for GCHQ sought volunteers during 1938 who could be recruited at the outbreak for war. They wanted people who were promising mathematicians and linguists - as well as those with code breaking experience from the First World War

Cuban Missile Crisis:

The Admiralty built a wireless telegraphy station at Scarborough in 1912.

From 1914 onwards it had responsibilities for Sigint, intelligence gathering by interception of signals, as well as its ordinary communications mission.

In 1962 the US learned that the Soviet Union was secretly shipping nuclear missiles on to the island of Cuba, just 90 miles from America.

a ship in a body of water: The Soviet freighter  Anosov, rear, being escorted by the USS Barry and a US Navy plane was one of the vessels seeking to run the blockade. GCHQ's station in Scarborough compiled position reports from Soviet vessels heading to Cuba. These reports showed the moment when the Russian ships turned around © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Soviet freighter  Anosov, rear, being escorted by the USS Barry and a US Navy plane was one of the vessels seeking to run the blockade. GCHQ's station in Scarborough compiled position reports from Soviet vessels heading to Cuba. These reports showed the moment when the Russian ships turned around

President John F Kennedy's advisers pushed for an immediate invasion of the island but Kennedy opted instead for a naval blockade on further shipping arriving.

Some Soviet ships were already on their way to the island.

The question was whether they would break through the blockade. If they did, the risk was a conflict which could escalate into nuclear war.

a large ship in a body of water: During the Cuban Missile Crisis, GCHQ was intercepting position reports from Russian ships such as the Kasimov, pictured, to determine whether the Soviets were planning to run the US blockade imposed by President John F Kennedy © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited During the Cuban Missile Crisis, GCHQ was intercepting position reports from Russian ships such as the Kasimov, pictured, to determine whether the Soviets were planning to run the US blockade imposed by President John F Kennedy

One of the missions of the Scarborough station was to intercept position reports of Soviet merchant shipping.

This meant that it could say exactly where these vessels were, when they stopped sailing towards Cuba and when they turned around and headed back to the Soviet Union.

Reports gradually showed more ships originally bound for Cuba alter their course to return to Soviet ports.

The world was facing nuclear conflict after a Soviet missile base was spotted in Cuba by US Air Force intelligence flights © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The world was facing nuclear conflict after a Soviet missile base was spotted in Cuba by US Air Force intelligence flights

A key report from this series - which shows the first report of a ship changing course- has just been declassified.

Who was Alan Turing and why was he so vital for the war effort that he has been named as the face of the Bank of England's new £50 note 

Alan Turing was a wartime hero whose later life was overshadowed by a conviction for homosexual activity, which was later considered unjust and discriminatory.

Alan Turing, Mark Carney are posing for a picture: In July, the Governor of the Bank of England announced that Alan Turing would appear on the new £50 note in honour of his wartime exploits. His work is believed to have saved the lives of millions of people © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In July, the Governor of the Bank of England announced that Alan Turing would appear on the new £50 note in honour of his wartime exploits. His work is believed to have saved the lives of millions of people

Often considered to be the father of computer science, Turing played a pivotal role in breaking the Enigma code and his legacy has a lasting impact on the way we live today.

Born on June 23 1912, Turing studied mathematics at King's College, University of Cambridge, gaining a first-class honours degree in 1934. He was later elected a Fellow of the College.

In 1936 his work on Computable Numbers is seen as giving birth to the idea of how computers could operate.

Alan Turing wearing a suit and tie: Alan Turing, pictured, was born on June 23, 1912 and studied maths at King's College, Cambridge. He is considered the father of modern computing and was a vital part of the Bletchley Park code breakers © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Alan Turing, pictured, was born on June 23, 1912 and studied maths at King's College, Cambridge. He is considered the father of modern computing and was a vital part of the Bletchley Park code breakers

His 'Turing test' also examined the behaviour necessary for a machine to be considered intelligent - the foundation for artificial intelligence.

Perhaps Turing's best-known achievement was his role in cracking the Enigma code.

It has been said this helped to shorten the length of the Second World War by at least two years - saving millions of lives.

a sign on the side of a building: It helped foil 23 attacks against the nation in the last four years and over 2017/18 it helped disrupt terrorist operations in at least four European countries © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited It helped foil 23 attacks against the nation in the last four years and over 2017/18 it helped disrupt terrorist operations in at least four European countries

The Enigma enciphering machine, adopted by the German armed forces to send messages securely, was believed to be unbreakable as the cipher changed continuously.

Turing was part of an Enigma research section, which worked in the stable yard at Bletchley Park.

The first wartime Enigma messages were broken in January 1940 and Enigma traffic continued to be broken routinely at Bletchley Park for the remainder of the war.

Working alongside MI5 and MI6, over the years GCHQ has looked to tackle serious cyber, terrorist, criminal, and state threats and attacks, including investigating the Novichok poisoning in March last year © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Working alongside MI5 and MI6, over the years GCHQ has looked to tackle serious cyber, terrorist, criminal, and state threats and attacks, including investigating the Novichok poisoning in March last year

Turing was later convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man.

His conviction led to the removal of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) where he had continued to work following service at Bletchley Park during the war.

He was chemically castrated following his conviction in 1952 and he died aged 41 in 1954.

a stack of flyers on a table: Alan Turing's work on cracking the Enigma code machine is believed to have shorted the Second World War by two years © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Alan Turing's work on cracking the Enigma code machine is believed to have shorted the Second World War by two years

Turing died of cyanide poisoning and an inquest recorded a verdict of suicide, although his mother and others maintained his death was accidental.

He was later given a posthumous royal pardon, following a request from the then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

In September 2009, then-prime minister Gordon Brown issued the apology to Turing for the prosecution following a petition calling for such a move.

A petition, Grant a pardon to Alan Turing, previously received more than 37,000 signatures.

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GCHQ facing 'unique challenges' of rapid technological change .
GCHQ will rise to the challenge posed by rapidly changing technology to protect Britain from cyber and terrorist threats 100 years after the agency's foundation, its chief has said. Jeremy Fleming's comments came as the spy service revealed the existence of five locations where decoding and eavesdropping took place during the Second World War.They included Abbots Cliff House in Kent where dozens of young German-speaking, female linguists were stationed, listening into German radio messages.

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