Snowden leaks allegedly force Britain to pull spies out of Russia and China

Edward Snowden

The Sunday Times in the UK claims Britain has had to pull its spies out of Russia and China after Russia was able to crack encrypted material found in files leaked by Edward Snowden.

RUSSIA and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.

Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after mounting one of the largest leaks in US history.

The Guardian, which first broke the Snowden leaks, has some questions for the government about the report.

These are serious allegations and, as such, the government has an obligation to respond openly.

The story is based on sources including “senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services”. The BBC said it had also also been briefed anonymously by a senior government official.

Anonymous sources are an unavoidable part of reporting, but neither Downing Street nor the Home Office should be allowed to hide behind anonymity in this case.