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Sir Stuart Hampshire review of GCHQ initiated


In 1962, the cost of GCHQ was accelerating. Cheltenham was asking for a sizeable increase in its budget to accommodate new computer costs at a time when most overseas departments were being asked to cut their budgets. The UK's overall cost of sigint budget was about £20 million and further increases would have taken this beyond the overall cost of the Foreign Office, which was then about £21 million. A major review of GCHQ and its costs was initiated by Burke Trend, who selected Stuart Hampshire, a philosophy don who had served in wartime intelligence alongside Sir Hugh Trevor Roper. This review probed what GCHQ had done with two previous 5-year tranches of additional funding, known as 'Methods to Improve' or MTI, and questioned the wisdom of GCHQ's unsuccessful assault on high level Soviet diplomatic systems. GCHQ eventually received an increase in its budget, a remarkable achievement at a time of economic stringency. Hampshire decided that GCHQ should not emulate NSA's expensive space-based sigint effort and brought to an end a project called 'Rafter', the airborne search for illegal KGB radios in Britain. A few years later, he became the subject of security inquiries when it was discovered that he had been a long term friend of Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess, however these suspicions proved groundless.