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Iran Press TV

NSA leaks damaging to UK intelligence operations: MI6 chief

Iran Press TV

Sat Nov 9, 2013 4:14PM GMT

The chief of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency says recent revelations by the US whistleblower and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have been "very damaging" and endangered UK intelligence operations.

'The leaks from Snowden have been very damaging. They have put our operations at risk. It is clear our adversaries are rubbing their hands with glee. Al-Qaeda is lapping it up,' John Sawers said at a 90-minute parliamentary committee hearing on Thursday.

He also criticized The Guardian for publishing NSA intelligence leaks, describing the journalists who published the leaked documents as irresponsible.

"I'm not sure the journalists managing these publications are particularly well placed to make that judgment," Sawers stated.

Ian Lobban, the head of UK eavesdropping agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), echoed his comments.

Lobban asserted that the global media coverage following the publication of intelligence files leaked by Snowden had made their job "far, far harder for years to come."

"We have actually seen chat around specific groups, including closer to home, discussing how to avoid what they now perceive to be vulnerable communications methods, or how to select communications packages that they now perceive not to be exploitable," he said.

The United Kingdom has sought to defend its intelligence-gathering activities in the wake of Snowden intelligence leaks about the joint spying practices of GCHQ and its American counterpart, the NSA.

According to the classified documents, GCHQ was secretly accessing millions of phone calls and electronic communications, using the NSA's Tempora program to circumvent UK law.


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