Part of Washington’s global military command and control system, Croughton was originally set up to co-ordinate an attack by US nuclear bombers. It has since evolved into a state-of-the-art relay hub for some of Washington’s most sensitive material, including CIA agent communications.
"RAF" Croughton, the US Air Force base and CIA relay station near Brackley in Northamptonshire houses the 422nd Air Base Group whose function is to provide installation support, services, force protection, and worldwide communications across the entire spectrum of operations.
Croughton was named in documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden as playing a key support role in embassy-based spying. The base "has a secure data link to a US counter-terrorism facility in Djibouti used for drone strikes in Yemen while questions remain about the use of other US bases in Britain, in particular the National Security Agency eavesdropping facility at RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire." The Independent
Croughton is involved in global electronic communications, control and surveillance on behalf of the US military and intelligence establishment, projecting American military power across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Anne Sacoolas, a recently arrived American, was driving on the wrong (American) side of the road outside the base when her car hit and killed Harry Dunn in 2019. She left the UK after the crash, claiming diplomatic immunity. An extradition request was rejected by the US State Department in January 2020.
Her alleged immunity depends on her employment status. As a family member rather than an employee at Croughton it is claimed she holds diplomatic immunity. However it has emerged during a court hearing of an application to dismiss a civil claim for damages brought by Harry’s family that Mrs Sacoolas was at the time. In July this year the US government prevented disclosure of her employment status to the US court hearing this case. (See Further information)
The civil damages case has now been settled but the Crown Prosecution Service is still pursuing the separate criminal case in the UK which may take the form of a "remote process".
Near Croughton, Northamptonshire UK
Worldwide communications (spying)