UK Made Guardian Destroy Hard Drives: Editor

Wanted to stop Snowden reporting, Alan Rusbridger says

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 19, 2013 6:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – The UK's interference with the Guardian's Snowden reporting apparently goes deeper than just the detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner. In a new opinion piece in the Guardian, editor Alan Rusbridger says that over the course of the past two months, the British government repeatedly demanded "the return or destruction of all the material we were working on" in regards to the Snowden leaks. He refused, and so, as he tells it:

  • "... 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."

(Reuters spoke with a source who clarified that the security experts watched as the hard drives were destroyed.) Though Rusbridger promises the paper will continue "patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents," he warns that in this digital age, "it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources." Until then, he jokes, "at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges."

  (Shutterstock)
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