UK agents, seeking to stop leaks, destroyed The Guardian's hard drives

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Two "security experts" from the British intelligence agency GCHQ have overseen the destruction of hard drives owned by The Guardian, the newspaper that has published leaked NSA documents describing the work of US and UK intelligence agencies.

The revelations are in a column published Monday afternoon by the newspaper's editor, Alan Rusbridger. In it, he describes the escalating concerns of the British government about the leaks given to The Guardian by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the center of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."