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It can physically intercept deliveries, open packages, and make changes to devices.
850,000??? That's a huge army of spies!
One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.
GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects...
The Guardian understands that a total of 850,000 NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases.