For the first time, Britain’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has opened its doors to the media, giving the public its first-ever look at how the organisation operates on a day-to-day basis.
The surprising truth: it’s not much different to any other office.
Sky News got a tour of the place and we’ve broken out some of the highlights.
The building is known as the “doughnut,” and from this aerial view, it’s easy to see why. According to Sky News, this design helps limit sound leakage that could be intercepted by spy satellites. There’s also a museum in the center that houses Alan Turing’s code-breaking enigma machine.
What appears to be the entrance hall looks suitably grand. The agency’s crest is on the wall, next to two sculptures.
Inside, it all looks surprisingly pedestrian.
The walls are lined with giant screens. Interestingly, they appear to be running Google apps rather than proprietary programs.
Another close-up shows a GCHQ employee using a suitably patriotic mug as he works to protect the homeland.
To protect the identity of the workers, some of the images have been blurred. But here you can get a feel for the open-plan offices many of the employees work in.
It looks like this hardworking spy is a “Top Daddy.”
Here, an employee walks towards a mysterious wall — work of art? Or code?
In this photo from ITV, one GCHQ employee can be spotted reading BBC News.
And in this one, an unseen worker adds a homely touch to their desk.