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Footage released of Guardian editors destroying Snowden hard drives: GCHQ technicians watched as journalists took angle grinders and drills to computers after weeks of tense negotiations

The day GCHQ came to call on the Guardian

Craig Oliver, PM David Cameron's press officer, called Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger and told him that some government officials wanted to jail him after the Guardian's GCHQ article appeared in the paper.

Later, PM David Cameron sent cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to ask Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, to destroy hard drives and memory cards which contained the Snowden files or face an injunction, to prevent the Guardian from reporting on the leaked documents from their London offices.

At one point Heywood said: "We can do this nicely or we can go to law". He added: "A lot of people in government think you should be closed down."
Talk about making an offer one can't refuse.  

On July 20, 2013 in the basement of The Guardian facility in London...

Three Guardian staff members – Johnson, executive director Sheila Fitzsimons and computer expert David Blishen – carried out the demolition of the Guardian's hard drives. It was hot, sweaty work. On the instructions of GCHQ, the trio bought angle-grinders, dremels – a drill with a revolving bit – and masks. The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a "degausser", which destroys magnetic fields, and erases data. It took three hours to smash up the computers. The journalists then fed the pieces into the degausser.
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Since, the Snowden files exist elsewhere, the demolition was mostly for show and supposedly to prevent Russia and China from gaining access to the Snowden files in Jolly Old England.

A GCHQ agent explained how the crafty Ruskies could purloin the Snowden docs from the unsecured Guardian offices in London by shining a laser beam through the windows and using plastic cups left around the office as makeshift microphones.

Guardian Editor Rusbridger: "They [The British Government] lost control of the documents the moment they destroyed them in London."

So, it was a psy-ops kinda thing.  Reminds me of the horse's head scene in The Godfather, only in this case, the Guardian journalists were forced to perform the decapitation themselves.

 

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