According to The Sunday Times agents from the UK’s spy agency, MI6, had to be evacuated from “hostile countries” after Russia and China cracked top-secret files that were a part of the cache released by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
A report on the BBC says that while government officials had to remove their spies, but that there was “no evidence” that any had been harmed.
Edward Snowden was a NSA contractor who downloaded 1.7 million secret files and leaked details about the mass surveillance of phone and internet communications.
Snowden has said that he has withheld the most sensitive information that would only do harm if released.
In their article, The Sunday Times disagrees with Snowden’s assertion that he has tried to keep dangerous information out of the hands of hostile actors.
“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,” claims the newspaper. “Snowden has done incalculable damage. In some cases the agencies have been forced to intervene and lift their agents from operations to prevent them from being identified and killed.“
The timing of the release of this report, claiming that the Snowden files have put spies in harms way, has been called into question.
According to The Independent the human rights group Liberty claims that this report was released to shore up support for mass government surveillance after The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation called surveillance programs “undemocratic, unnecessary and – in the long run – intolerable” this past week.
Glen Greenwald, the journalist who helped Snowden release his trove of top-secret files criticized The Sunday Times for what he called bad journalism.
Greenwald states that The Sunday Times article hinges on their claim that Snowden brought the files with him to Russia, and gave them to Russian intelligence services.
A tweet Greenwald made on Sunday called on The Sunday Times to retract their article and provided evidence that he claims undermines their assertions.
Checkout Greenwald’s tweet below.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 14, 2015
[BBC][The Sunday Times][The Independent][Photo courtesy of the BBC]