Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London
WASHINGTON: The Guardian has agreed with the New York Times to give the US newspaper access to some classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, both papers said yesterday.
The Guardian said on its website it “struck a partnership” with the Times after the UK government threatened the Guardian with legal action unless it either surrendered or destroyed files it received from Snowden about Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s equivalent of NSA.
“In a climate of intense pressure from the government, The Guardian decided to bring in a US partner to work on the GCHQ documents provided by Snowden. We are working in partnership with the NYT and others to continue reporting these stories,” the British newspaper said.
The Times’ Executive Editor, Jill Abramson, confirmed the collaboration. “We don’t usually comment on our reporting before publication, but in this case we will make an exception since it is public. The Times is reporting on material from The Guardian and other matters related to Snowden,” the Times quoted her as saying.
A source said the deal had been struck several weeks ago and Abramson was involved in negotiating it.
The website Buzzfeed said Scott Shane, a Times reporter who covers national security and intelligence, was working on stories expected to be published next month jointly with The Guardian.
The Guardian said its partnership with the Times would enable it to “continue exposing mass surveillance by putting the Snowden documents on GCHQ beyond government reach.” It said Snowden, who disclosed US Internet and phone surveillance programmes in June and obtained asylum in Russia, is aware of the deal.
The Guardian’s Editor, Alan Rusbridger, said earlier that under the supervision of representatives of GCHQ, the newspaper’s staff had destroyed computer equipment containing Snowden files after the newspaper was threatened with possible legal action by senior government officials. Rusbridger said he had put British officials on notice that copies of material destroyed had been sent outside government jurisdiction.
Both newspapers previously collaborated on stories related to alleged phone hacking by UK tabloids and on coverage of secret US military and diplomatic documents made available by US soldier Bradley Manning to the WikiLeaks website. Reuters