The Donald Trump-Theresa May relationship might not be in an ideal condition, but when it comes to intelligence concerns, all's well in the special relationship.
Certainly from the British perspective, that is.
A new report from the British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee reports that all involved in the U.K. and U.S. intelligence relationship continue to regard it as immensely valuable. This "was clearly apparent," the ISC said, "[during a visit to the U.S.]."
This positivity shouldn't be surprising: the equivalent of congressional intelligence oversight committees, the ISC knows that U.S.-U.K. intelligence services have saved thousands of innocent lives from terrorist attacks.
Nevertheless, one American agency stands out for British affections: the National Security Agency.
The ISC report doesn't say it explicitly, but it's pretty clear that NSA is the key. This becomes clear when the committee describes a GCHQ (Britain's NSA equivalent) "project to enhance the supercomputing capacity that supports much of GCHQ’s work. GCHQ has told us," the committee says, "that this project is particularly critical, as it predicts that projected mission needs will exceed existing data center capacity limits in [redacted]."
While the project is now expected to come online next year, the ISC adds that "GCHQ noted that its relationship with the US brought significant benefits [redacted]."
What does the redaction conceal?
Well, if GCHQ's issue of concern is a limited server storage capacity and the U.S. has "brought significant benefits" here, it follows that one of two assumptions must be true. Namely, that either the U.S. has helped Britain develop a more advanced supercomputer system or that the U.S. has allowed Britain to utilize its supercomputer capacity.
Consider that the ISC's language in "GCHQ noted that its relationship..." suggests an ongoing means of assistance rather than a one-time sharing of technical knowledge. Moreover, the NSA is renowned for its supercomputing capabilities: the agency's reputation is built upon its matching of targeting and collection skill to scale of production. That is to say, NSA collects a lot of unique intelligence on a lot of different concerns. Unsurprisingly, this takes a lot of server space.
But that's not all.
Because the ISC also references GCHQ's "FOXTROT program, an equipment interference program to increase GCHQ’s ability [to deal with encrypted communications platforms]." Again, based on the closeness of the U.S.-U.K. relationship and the two agencies history of interwoven operations, we should assume there is some measure of joint enterprise here.
All of this makes clear that the gains Britain gets from the special relationship are vast. Possessing far smaller budgets, Britain's close friendship with America allows it to multiply its intelligence capability many times over.
Unless Jeremy Corbyn becomes Britain's prime minister, we should expect the U.K.-U.S. relationship to remain exceptionally strong.