Spy agencies around the world

Russia’s Federal Security Service is housed in this building in Moscow.

Russia’s Federal Security Service is housed in this building in Moscow. Source: Getty Images

EVER wondered where spies go to work? These buildings hide the biggest network of intelligence agencies around the world. Some are nondescript, others are imposing and a few we couldn’t find photos of at all. You may recognise some from Bond movies, while others look more like the house next door. These are the world’s most powerful buildings as reported in Gizmodo plus a few of our own.

Government Communications Headquarters, UK

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is one of the three main UK security and intelligence organisations. Responsible for identifying threats to national security, their work includes surveillance regarding cyber attacks, international and domestic terrorism, organised crime and the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

In 2004 GCHQ moved to new premises in the spa town of Cheltenham, in the southwest of England. Dubbed the “doughnut” because of its shape, an internal street links all areas of the building meaning that no one is more than a five-minute walk away.

An aerial image of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Credit: Ministry of Defe...

The “doughnut” responsible for national security is unusually located in the spa town of Cheltenham. Credit: Ministry of Defence Source: Supplied

MI5, UK

Located in central London, the Security Service MI5 is the UK’s domestic counterintelligence and security agency. More than one hundred years old, it has played a hugely secret role in countering the activities of terrorists and spies.

In the heart of London sits the super secretive MI5.

In the heart of London sits the super secretive MI5. Source: Getty Images

MI6, UK

The UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is more commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), and is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence.

Sitting on the Thames in London it is known by locals as “legoland” and “Babylon-on-Thames” it has also featured in Bond movies.

As the “secret front line” of Britain’s’s national security, it gathers foreign intelligence from around the world that may affect the UK’s political and economic interests. Although more than a century old, its existence was not officially acknowledged until 1994 when it moved to its present location.

MI6 sits on the Thames in London.

MI6 sits on the Thames in London. Source: Getty Images

Communications Security Establishment, Canada

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is the national cryptologic agency of Canada. Based in Ottawa, it is one of the key security and intelligence organisations, it is responsible for foreign signals intelligence (SIGINT) and protecting Canadian government electronic information and communication networks.

The new $1.2 billion facility is the country’s new headquarters. Picture:

The new $1.2 billion facility is the country’s new headquarters. Picture: Source: Supplied

Central Intelligence Agency, USA

Probably the world’s biggest intelligence agency and famous from many Hollywood blockbusters, the CIA is responsible for homeland security in the USA.

Based in Langley, Virginia, the CIA has three main roles — to gather information about foreign governments, corporations an individuals; to provide national security intelligence assessments to US policymakers; and to carry out covert activities upon the request of the President.

The new headquarters for the CIA looks surprisingly modest. Picture: Central Intelligence

The new headquarters for the CIA looks surprisingly modest. Picture: Central Intelligence Agency Source: Flickr

National Security Agency, USA

Unlike the CIA which is responsible for human source intelligence, the National Security Agencey (NSA) is the United States intelligence agency for information and data.

Known as Signals intelligence (SIGINT), the NSA monitors, collects, decodes and translates information.

In 2013 its powerful secret surveillance programs were made public by Edward Snowden who exposed documents revealing it intercepts communications of over a billion people worldwide and able to undertake cyber attacks on the internet…

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