4 Dec 2013

Guardian editor defends spy leaks

8:43 pm on 4 December 2013

The publication by The Guardian of material from fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden has been defended by the editor of the newspaper.

Alan Rusbridger has told a hearing the Home Affairs Select Committee the paper had not put any lives at risk, AFP reports.

Britain's spy chiefs told MPs in November that The Guardian's publication of the leaks had helped Britain's enemies.

"This stuff may be politically embarrassing, but there's nothing here that is risking national security," Mr Rusbridger said.

"It is important context that editors of probably the world's leading newspapers in America, the Washington Post and the New York Times, took virtually identical decisions. So this is not a rogue newspaper."

Mr Rusbridger said that only about 1% of the 58,000 secret documents and other papers passed to The Guardian by Mr Snowden have been published.

He said the rest were "secure", although he said he would not reveal in public where they were kept.

The committee is questioning him as part of its investigation into counter-terrorism.

Reports on the scale of spying by the United States and other countries have been published in the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Der Spiegel. They are based on files leaked by Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.