£200m upgrade for intelligence hub?

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RAF Croughton could undergo a vast £200 million upgrade to intensify its top-secret information channelling role between the USA and the rest of the world.

The former RAF bomber base, now fully operated by the USA, is set to become the centre for consolidated operations from other US intelligence groups based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.

Reports in The Independent newspaper say the new, ultra-secure Croughton could be staffed by 1,250 personnel and covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counter-terrorism activities.

The publication states the $318 million project would include an ‘installation’ for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s main military espionage service, accentuating Croughton’s importance as a centre for clandestine and classified US communications in Britain.

RAF Croughton has been described as ‘a relay centre for CIA clandestine and agent communications’ and it was used to ferry data from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone back to the USA.

Newspaper reports on RAF Croughton’s intelligence activities report British Telecom providing a sophisticated link between the base and Djibouti, East Africa from where drone strikes are launched.

USAF European press office declined to comment on reports or the upgrade, saying the plan is under review.