Downing Street directed Guardian hard drives to be destroyed

The Guardian reports: Nick Clegg has endorsed the government’s decision to ask the Guardian to destroy leaked secret NSA documents on the grounds that Britain would face a “serious threat to national security” if they reached the “wrong hands”.

In a statement, a spokesman for the deputy prime minister gave the first official confirmation that the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, made the request to the Guardian.

The intervention by Clegg came after Yvette Cooper said that parliament’s intelligence watchdog should investigate David Cameron’s role in asking the Guardian to surrender or destroy the NSA documents. The shadow home secretary made her call after the Daily Mail and the Independent reported that Heywood made the request to the Guardian on the instructions of the prime minister.

Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, said that the prime minister must make a statement to MPs when parliament returns next month.

In a statement issued after the official confirmation that Heywood asked the Guardian to delete its hard drives, Vaz said: “The actions of the cabinet secretary are unprecedented and show that this issue has reached the highest levels of government. Although I am very surprised at this revelation it explains why Downing Street, the White House and the home secretary were briefed in advance about David Miranda’s detention.

“Up until now the UK government has downplayed its interest in these matters but it’s clear that they have taken a proactive stance not just in terms of the destruction of the information held by the Guardian but also the involvement of those journalists who have written about Edward Snowden. The prime minister must make a full statement to parliament on the day it returns. We need to know the full facts nothing less will do.” [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email