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Files leaked by Edward Snowden reveal how the NSA pays for and influences some of the UK's intelligence gathering programmes. The documents also give unique insights into the challenges faced by the agency and the concerns it has about how to tackle them
But the "customer" the agency frets about most is the NSA. In numerous papers, GCHQ reveals its need to keep the Americans happy, and how it regards this as an overriding priority.
It is not hard to see why: the Guardian has discovered GCHQ receives tens of millions of pounds from the NSA every year, money it has come to rely upon to build and maintain its collecting and decoding capabilities. In turn, the US expects a service, and, potentially, access to a range of programmes, such as Tempora.
In the decades since then, the NSA has become the world's biggest intelligence-gathering organisation, a position that has left its allies uncomfortably reliant on its financial and technical resources.
The Snowden files reveal just how much the UK is in hoc to the US.
There are details of payments made to GCHQ by the NSA, and vignettes which point to the UK's need to do America's bidding or risk losing favour with the senior partner.