New footage released by The Guardian Friday shows the chilling moments journalists destroyed hard drives containing files leaked by Edward Snowden — all under the supervision of British intelligence officials.

“Under the watchful gaze of two technicians from the British government spy agency GCHQ, the journalists took angle-grinders and drills to the internal components, rendering them useless and the information on them obliterated,” The Guardian stated in an article which accompanied the newly released video.


“The bizarre episode in the basement of the Guardian’s London HQ was the climax of Downing Street’s fraught interactions with the Guardian in the wake of Snowden’s leak – the biggest in the history of western intelligence,” the British newspaper added.

According to The Guardian, destroying the computers themselves was the best way of protecting their journalists from legal action, while continuing to report on the story.

“…the only way of protecting the Guardian’s team – and of carrying on reporting from another jurisdiction…”
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“With the threat of punitive legal action ever present, the only way of protecting the Guardian’s team – and of carrying on reporting from another jurisdiction – was for the paper to destroy its own computers,” the British newspaper stated in its article. “GCHQ officials wanted to inspect the material before destruction, carry out the operation themselves and take the remnants away. The Guardian refused.”

The incident occurred on July 20, 2013.

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