The US National Security Agency (NSA) lobbied its British counterpart, GCHQ, to stop the Guardian from publishing Edward Snowden’s revelations about its mass surveillance programs in 2013, according to a book previewed in the British newspaper.
According to the book, an NSA official called Sir Iain Lobban (GCHQ), chief in the wee hours of June 6, 2013. According to its author, investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj, Lobban was asked to intervene and prevent The Guardian from publishing Snowden’s story – which revealed the existence of an illegal NSA spying program on the American public.
Lobban said that he felt the same. “the proposition of urging a newspaper to spike the article for the sake of the NSA seemed a step too far,”And it was. “neither the purpose of his agency nor his own to deal with the NSA’s public relations.”
The Guardian and Washington Post both published their first stories that used classified Snowden documents. The first articles detailed the NSA’s use of a top-secret court order to collect the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers, and later stories revealed that the agency collected data through ‘back doors’ into US companies such as Google and Facebook, and that it collected phone calls and emails from citizens of Germany, Brazil, and dozens of Latin American, European, and Middle Eastern countries.
Snowden’s documents also revealed that then-President Barack Obama ordered cyberattacks on foreign targets and that his administration bugged the offices of foreign embassies and governments, among countless other misdeeds.
The GCHQ started off with a passive approach. However, David Cameron in October, who was then the Prime Minister of the UK, told The Guardian that he would resort to legal channels. “or other tougher measures” to stop it publishing any more of Snowden’s leaks. After a series of reports that accused GCHQ in data collection, it was revealed that the British spy agency worked closely with the NSA.
After the US Justice Department released espionage accusations against Snowden, on June 21st the US State Department cancelled his passport. He arrived in Moscow two days later, where he was granted asylum. In 2020, Snowden received permanent residence in Russia.
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