Britain is operating a secret listening station at its embassy in Vienna, Austria’s ORF public broadcaster has claimed.

The broadcaster has released pictures of a small shed-like structure on the roof of the Vienna embassy, which it says conceals sophisticated antennas.

The site is used by GCHQ to monitor Austrian mobile phone networks and other communications, according to the ORF.

What does anyone think happens?

20 thoughts on “Yes, and?”

  1. Or, have a look at the Russian consulate in San Francisco. Honestly… if governments don’t do this it’s only because they can’t afford it

  2. What on Earth do they think embassies are for? What do they think all those cultural attachés actually do all day?

    Never mind what they might think GCHQ is for…

  3. So Much for Subtlety

    Switzerland’s version of the NSA/GCHQ is famous enough to have its own webpage. The French effort is enormous.

    God know the British embassy is hardly a threat to anyone.

  4. Time was we’d have said the shed was the Ambassador’s bird watching hide.

    Before that, time was we’d have been right.

  5. Vienna is important in several ways, not least the fact that OPEC is headquartered there. If it is eventually discovered that we have been tapping their meeting rooms since its inception, I will not only be unsurprised but rather glad that somebody, somewhere, is doing their damned job.

  6. This was one of the many things about the Sandy Berger case that should have caused heads to roll. Not only did he take classified material, he sent details of it via phone in Washington, surrounded by embassies.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    What TimN says, except I’d go further. If the weren’t tapping Opex, or at least making a very serious attempt, it would have been a gross dereliction of duty.

  8. Dear Mr Worstall

    It looks rather larger than a ‘small shed’ – about one and a half times longer and wider than a single garage. Maybe they have much bigger sheds in Austria.

    Can be viewed on Goggle Mappes at: 48.1976003,16.381392

    Didn’t a former British ambassador have a habit of running naked through the parks of Vienna?


  9. I do think I now know which part of the embassy my uncle worked in when stationed in Vienna now though…..

  10. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    “It looks rather larger than a ‘small shed’”

    It’s a big telly.

    also one needs a radio license, so pehaps thay’ve got one of those valve wirelesses. it had to be stored there so that the occupants could listen to Feinsender during the War.

  11. So Much for Subtlety

    I wonder which poor sod gets stuck with the job of listening to Austrian police radio?

    That must be a dire 8 hour shift.

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