UK pulls spies as Snow­den files cracked

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The UK has been forced to re­move some of its spies af­ter Rus­sia and China ac­cessed the top-se­cret raft of doc­u­ments taken by for­mer U.S. in­tel­li­gence con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported.

The BBC and the Sun­day Times cited se­nior gov­ern­ment and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials as say­ing agents had been pulled, with the news­pa­per say­ing the move came af­ter Rus­sia was able to de­crypt more than one mil­lion files.

“It is the case that Rus­sians and Chi­nese have in­for­ma­tion. It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowl­edge of how we op­er­ate has stopped us get­ting vi­tal in­for­ma­tion,” a Down­ing Street source said, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

The BBC said on its web­site, mean­while, that a gov­ern­ment source said the two coun­tries “have in­for­ma­tion” that spurred in­tel­li­gence agents be­ing moved, but said there was “no ev­i­dence” any spies were harmed.

Snow­den fled to Rus­sia af­ter leak­ing the doc­u­ments to the press in 2013 to ex­pose the ex­tent of U.S. on­line sur­veil­lance pro­grams and to pro­tect “pri­vacy and ba­sic lib­er­ties.”

The Sun­day Times said other gov­ern­ment sources claimed China had also ac­cessed the doc­u­ments, which re­veal U.S. and UK in­tel­li­gence tech­niques, lead­ing to fears that their spies could be iden­ti­fied.

Snow­den worked as a con­trac­tor at the CIA and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, where he was able to down­load 1.7 mil­lion se­cret doc­u­ments that showed how hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple had been surveilled by the au­thor­i­ties.

He pre­vi­ously claimed that “no in­tel­li­gence ser­vice” could crack the doc­u­ments, say­ing he was able to “keep such in­for­ma­tion from be­ing com­pro­mised even in the high­est threat counter-in­tel­li­gence en­vi­ron­ments.”

But an in­tel­li­gence source told the Sun­day Times: “We know Rus­sia and China have ac­cess to Snow­den’s ma­te­rial and will be go­ing through it for years to come, search­ing for clues to iden­tify po­ten­tial tar­gets.”

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