WEB DESK – British secret intelligence agency had once threatened to shutdown the famous news paper ‘Guardian’ for publishing leaked documents that exposed American hidden surveillance mechanism around the globe.
The deputy editor of the Guardian, Paul Jhnson confirmed receiving such threats from the secret agency’s officials.
“We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position,” Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson said while addressing a conference.
A senior civil servant had told the paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, that the “prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the foreign secretary, the home secretary and the attorney general have got a problem with you,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, the attitude of the British authorities was a sharp contrast to that of the Americans as in the US Snowden leaks led to a nationwide debate on surveillance and privacy. However, he sad, in the UK the authorities just assumed that national security trumps press freedom.
Johnson also admits that Snowden Leaks were probably the most challenging stories to run in Guardian’s history. He went a step further and said that it was more difficult than reporting on leaked US documents exposed by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks or the phone tapping by the News of the World tabloid.
“It was the most difficult story we have ever done and that includes WikiLeaks, because reporters and editors couldn’t speak to each other. We could only speak using encryption systems,” he said.
The paper had to install a secure room with new computers and a guard standing 24/7 at the door for the work on the story.