Despite the fact that the NSA and GCHQ secret files leaked by Edward Snowden exist "outside the country" and that "the Guardian was neither the sole recipient nor steward of the files," officials from the UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) demanded the hard drives and computers where the files were stored be destroyed. The attention this is generating is only giving the leaks more validity.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger revealed in a Monday article posted on the British newspaper's website that intelligence officials from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) told him that he would either have to hand over all the classified documents or have the newspaper's hard drives destroyed.
After more talks, two "security experts" from GCHQ -- the British version of the National Security Agency -- visited the Guardian?s London offices.
Rusbridger wrote that the government officials then watched as computers, which contained classified information passed on by Snowden, were physically destroyed in one of the newspaper building?s basements.
"We can call off the black helicopters," Rusbridger said one of the officials joked.
Rusbridger pointed out that the whole incident felt like a "pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age."
The news comes after Sunday's international incident during which David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was held at Heathrow airport under the UK Terrorism Act for the maximum time allowed before pressing charges. Greenwald was the reporter who exclusively broke the Snowden story.
The editor promised that the Guardian will ?continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London. The seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald?s work.?
Another US security source told Reuters that Miranda's detention was meant to send a message to those who received Snowden's classified documents, about how serious the UK is in closing all the leaks in relation to the whistleblower's revelations.
Greenwald, who first published secrets leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, responded by promising to release more documents. He added that the UK would be "sorry" for detaining his partner for nine hours.
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