Global Politics

British politicians call for a crackdown on leaks from Snowden

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Credit: The Guardian

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is speaking out for the first time since receiving asylum in Russia.

The saga of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden continues.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

In the past week, Snowden's leaks have been fodder for additional reporting across Europe, revealing the NSA's vast spying campaigns. On Wednesday, the Washington Post used secret documents to reveal that, it claims, US officials have hacked into servers at Google and Yahoo to gain access to more private information.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, for one, seems to have had enough. Appearing before Parliament, he indicated he was ready to crack down on The Guardian or any other news organizations in the UK that continue to publish stories based on Snowden's information.

"What Snowden is doing, and to an extent what the newspapers are doing in helping him... is frankly signaling to people who mean to do us harm how to evade and avoid intelligence," Cameron said on Friday.

He found a receptive audience in Parliament and outside, including with Louise Mensch, a former conservative member of Parliament. She's called for the government to crack down on The Guardian from the beginning. And she's highly critical of Snowden's actions.

Mensch says it's "clear" Snowden didn't discriminate in choosing which documents to release from the NSA. He nor reporters considered the implications of the information they were revealing.

"He's endangered not only American national security, but also British national security and that of allies around the world," she said.

To be sure, Mensch is willing to accept some limited disclosure, like the type done by formal whistleblowers. But she blasted Snowden for taking whatever documents he could and going off to "repressive regimes" in Russia and China for protection.

And Mensch says this metadata collection — tracking call information — the NSA is accused of conducting is a far cry from listening in on everyone's phone conversations.

"Google does it to you every day," she said. "Frankly, everyone does it."

The safety of the United States, she says, should be the responsibility of the president and the government — and it's not up to people like Snowden to decide what to make public.

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