British government agents have forced The Guardian, which was at the center of revelations based on US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, to destroy an unspecified number of the newspaper’s hard drives to get rid of the information.
The paper’s editor Alan Rusbridger said they were threatened of court action by the British government is they failed to destroy the files, containing US security secrets, or hand them to authorities.
The paper, which has revealed part of the information it apparently obtained from Snowden, was in the middle of publishing embarrassing material on mass surveillance programs led by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
Rusbridger said they were contacted by “a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister” adding that the official “demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on.”
“You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back. There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures,” he said.
“The demand was the same: ‘hand the Snowden material back or destroy it…You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more’,” he added.
Later in his article on the paper’s website, Rusbridger
Said that despite the destruction of the computers in London, they can continue reporting on the matter from outside Britain, thanks to “international collaborations” among journalists.
The incident came as the British government triggered outrage after they detained and questioned the partner of a journalist affiliated with the paper for nine hours because he worked with Snowden.

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