October 28, 2013
UK PM threatens to act against papers over Snowden leaks
British Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that the government may take action against newspapers which publish “damaging” intelligence leaks from American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Cameron suggested that the UK government could impose court injunctions on papers or use D-notices in order to prevent the publication of documents revealing US espionage activities.
He also said it would be very difficult for the government to “stand back” if the press did not show enough restraint on reporting the US National Security Agency (NSA) leaked files.
“If they (newspapers) don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act,” Cameron told MPs.
Moreover, the British premier said the daily Guardian had “gone on” to print “damaging” data following an initial agreement to destroy other sensitive material.
Cameron’s remarks came in reply to a question from Conservative MP Julian Smith on reports that secrets leaked by former CIA employee have hampered the work of Britain’s intelligence agencies.
Earlier in June, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs, under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
The US intelligence whistleblower also admitted his role in the leaks in a 12-minute video recorded interview published by the Guardian.
A month later, the paper reported that it had been forced by authorities in Britain to destroy the classified documents it received from former NSA contractor.
Earlier this month, Cameron said the NSA files, leaked by Snowden to the newspaper, have damaged the UK’s national security.
Speaking during prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons, he also urged MPs to investigate whether the paper has broken the law by publishing the classified documents.
Photo: British Prime Minister David Cameron