British agents destroyed The Guardian’s hard drive to prevent Snowden leaks

Alan Rusbridger

The Guardian, the newspaper behind the Edward Snowden leak reports, has come face-to-face with angry UK agents who were hellbent on destroying the hard drive that contains all the juicy details of NSA spying along with info on the British spy plan, as well. At the end of the day, the hard drive was destroyed, which should be proof enough how damaging and truthful the Snowden leaks are.

According to The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, the relationship between the newspaper and the British government began to take a turn for the worse a month ago. He claimed agents contacted him and requested he returned the information, or destroy the material.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.” There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”

Rusbridger went on to state:

The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. “We can call off the black helicopters,” joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

It is clear the contents of those hard drives were valuable assets that could have caused more damage to the U.S. and UK, hence the need to destroy all material. If the Guardian is wise, copies of the damaging materials should be on another hard drive that is safely tucked away somewhere.

We wait patiently for more NSA reports from the Guardian, and hope government officials harm no employee in any way.

[The Guardian]

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  • IMO Snowden is guilty of revealing government secrets. This isn’t a case where the leak points out some governmental coverup, screwup or illegal action, these are security secrets. While it’s true our government is handling it badly, and from this the UK government is doing the same, Snowden deserves punishment for this.

  • Peter
  • Mike

    [@Obamu] exactly. But as commentor Machar notes above, other copies exist–perhaps that is why The Guardian was willing to comply with the deastruction demand and give the government its totally illusory “win.”

  • New Moon

    When I was young, I truly believed the government, police, etc., were good people, and the drug dealers, thieves, bullies, terrorists, etc., were bad ones. Now, these two groups have merged into a single entity in my mind, and the line is blurred whenever I think of whether the government is the ultimate bully or the bankers are the thieves! You know what I mean?

    I’m not even sure whether there are anymore freedom-and-rights-loving people in the government! All they seem to be doing is covering up all the crimes they commit, while not creating enough jobs for its people who are becoming so desperate that they are literally eating their finger nails! Oh yeah they’re waking up in masses too.

    The two agents who oversaw the destruction of the computer hard drives went on to destroy the motherboards too! That basically shows how insecure and paranoid they are, why? because no user data such as .doc, .pdf, .text, etc., is stored or can be stored on motherboards!

  • Machar

    @Vamien – “The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, had earlier informed government officials that other copies of the files existed outside the country and that the Guardian was neither the sole recipient nor steward of the files leaked by Snowden…” – para 5 of this article in The Guardian:

    Why you should think that UK government officials might “harm” any employees (presumably of The Guardian) is beyond me. If anyone is found to have broken any laws then they will be prosecuted. We don’t have an FBI. The current controversy is far more about the possible abuse of anti-terrorist laws created under the last government. Of course, if lapdog Tony Blairghhhh hadn’t followed George W and taken us into two illegal wars, despite a massive public outcry, then none of this would be happening. Unfortunately, the people trying to cope with the messy aftermath of his incompetence aren’t doing themselves any favours with their methods. But what d’you expect from Civil Servants?

  • Obamu

    I’ve who else thought that they have a back-up or should have a back-up?