Government Communications Bureau

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The Government Communications Bureau is a Whitehall codename for MI6.[1]

In 1957 questions were asked in the House of Commons:

HC Deb 01 July 1957 vol 572 cc689-90689

§45. Mr. Lipton asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange to transfer the responsibility for supervision of the Government Communications Bureau from the Foreign Secretary to himself.
§The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler) I have been asked to reply. No, Sir.
§Mr. Lipton Now that a Committee has been appointed to investigate telephone tapping, would it not be wiser to defer a decision as to the future control of the Government's 'phone tapping headquarters until the Committee has reported?
§Mr. Butler I would only say that the Government Communications Bureau is a branch of the communications organisation under the control of the Foreign Secretary. It is engaged on work connected with foreign service establishments overseas.

In 2002 the Guardian reported:

Britain's biggest children's charity has been refused planning permission for its new flagship headquarters on national security grounds, following the intervention of an ultra-secret government department. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott vetoed the construction of a new five-storey building for Save the Children on London's South Bank after objections by the Government Communications Bureau, a department specialising in surveillance technology and thought to be connected to the intelligence services.
The top secret organisation has a building next door to the proposed site of the new charity HQ, but its activities are so sensitive that officials across Whitehall had no idea of - or completely denied - its existence. The Observer approached the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to ask about the GCB's work. In each case officials said they had no information about the mystery bureau. A spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said: 'I have been able to ascertain that it does exist but, as it is not the responsibility of this department, I cannot comment further.' A Home Office spokeswoman said: 'No one here has ever heard of the Government Communications Bureau.'
Officials initially said they were 'confident' the GCB had nothing to do with the Foreign Office either, but later said it was part of a larger body called the Communications Organisation, which fell under the control of the Foreign Secretary. As for its activities, all that was possible to reveal was that the GCB was 'engaged in work connected with Foreign Service establishments overseas'.[2]

According to the BBC in 2014:

Since 2011 the Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has cut its carbon dioxide emissions and shifted from being in the worst category for energy efficiency to rating better than would be typical for its kind of building. This is disclosed in the organisation's official Display Energy Certificate, which I reveal here. Until recently this document was publicly available on the internet, despite this being contrary to the relevant regulations, but it has now been removed.The certificate states the address for the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross in central London. It gives "GCB" as the occupier of the building. This stands for Government Communications Bureau, which is sometimes used as a cover name for MI6.[1]