David Cameron to Guardian: Snowden Leaks Put Britain in Danger

An escalation in the debate over security vs. privacy

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British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in Parliament on Wednesday that The Guardian had undermined national security by publishing materials leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The Guardian, said Cameron, admitted it knew the data was “dangerous” by complying with requests to destroy the files.

The Guardian rejected Cameron’s accusations, the newspaper’s editor Alan Rusbridger told The New York Times. “We went along with the destruction of the computers in the knowledge that we could carry on reporting from New York,” he said.

It would be up to parliamentary committees to decide whether to further investigate The Guardian’s actions, Cameron said in response to a question by former Defense Secretary Liam Fox. On Wednesday evening, The Guardian reported that Parliament’s home affairs committee plans to review the newspaper’s involvement in the Snowden leaks as part of a wider counterterrorism probe.

The Prime Minister’s comments are seen as an escalation in the debate over the leaks; Snowden’s supporters argue that the files reveal excessive breaches of personal privacy by authorities.

Parliament’s intelligence committee is launching an investigation on Thursday into mass surveillance used by Britain’s spy agencies, the head of the committee said.