Guardian: We have published 1% of Snowden leaks

2013-12-03 21:45
Guardian newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger. (Leon Neal, AFP)

Guardian newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger. (Leon Neal, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - The editor of the Guardian said on Tuesday that his newspaper has published just 1% of the material it received from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, and denied that the paper had placed lives or national security at risk.

Alan Rusbridger was questioned by Parliament's home affairs committee as part of a session on counterterrorism.

The Guardian has published a series of stories based on leaks from Snowden disclosing the scale of telephone and internet surveillance by spy agencies in the United States and Britain.

Rusbridger said the leak amounted to about 58 000 files and the newspaper had published "about 1%" of the total.

"I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more," he said.

Government and intelligence officials have said the leaks compromised British security and aided terrorists. Britain's top three spy chiefs said last month that al-Qaeda and other terror groups were "rubbing their hands in glee" in the wake of Snowden's leaks.

Several lawmakers have said the Guardian should be prosecuted for breaching terrorism laws.

Rusbridger defended the newspaper's role, saying stories published by the Guardian and others had prompted debate about the extent of intelligence activities and exposed the limits of regulatory laws drawn up in the pre-internet era.

"There is no doubt in my mind... that newspapers have done something that oversight has failed to do," he said.

Rusbridger denied placing intelligence agents at risk, saying the Guardian had "made very selective judgments" about what to publish and not revealed any names.

"We have published no names and we have lost control of no names," he said.

'Press freedom under attack'

British police launched a criminal investigation into the leaks after detaining the partner of then-Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald at Heathrow Airport in August under terrorism legislation.

Police have refused to disclose who is under investigation and for what alleged offenses. Rusbridger said he did not know whether the Guardian was being investigated.

He said the Guardian had come under pressure from the authorities in a way that would be "inconceivable" in the United States, where journalists can rely on First Amendment protections of freedom of speech.

Rusbridger cited visits to the newspaper from Britain's top civil servant, who demanded an end to the stories, and politicians' calls for the newspaper to be prosecuted.

"I feel that some of this activity has been designed to intimidate the Guardian," Rusbridger said.

That sentiment was echoed in a letter to the parliamentary panel from the US-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which said that "to the rest of the world, it appears that press freedom itself is under attack in Britain".

The letter was signed by US media organisations including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press.

It said it was "unwise and counterproductive to react to the reporting on disclosures from Edward Snowden by reflexively invoking security concerns to silence the press or to accuse a news organisation of aiding terrorists simply by providing citizens with information they need to know."

Read more on:    edward snowden  |  privacy

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.