Italian newspaper l'Espresso appears to have something of a scoop on its hands, as it reveals for the first time the location of a secret internet surveillance HQ, based overseas but run by Britain.
The paper claims that a secret base on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, acts as hub for British and United States surveillance on the Middle East and surrounding regions, intercepting huge numbers of emails, phone calls and web traffic.
The Internet monitoring occurs at the Ayios Nikolaos intelligence station, part of Britain’s Eastern Sovereign Base Area. It is possible to see the top secret intelligence base on Google Earth: a cluster of operations buildings, several eavesdropping satellite dishes and nearby a large circular radio direction-finding antenna system, a tell-tale sign of signals intelligence bases.
The targets of the Cyprus intelligence operations will typically include the government leaders in all the surrounding countries and other senior public, business and military leaders. Following the pattern of British and US spying in other regions, it will also include United Nations agencies, trade organisations, private companies, police forces, militaries and political groups.
But now, the cat appears to be out of the bag.
The latest revelation from the top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the base's location, and potentially made it a target for those in the Middle East who take unkindly to being snooped upon by Britain and America.
Read the full story on the l'Espresso website.