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article imageJournalists may face terrorism charges, jail over Snowden leaks

By Yukio Strachan     Dec 4, 2013 in World
London - Britain's counter-terrorism police are investigating if journalists at the Guardian newspaper should be prosecuted over their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden -- an offense that carries up to 10 years in jail.
Cressida Dick, an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard -- London's police force -- told lawmakers Tuesday that detectives were examining whether staff at the newspaper had breached terrorism laws, the Telegraph UK reported.
Asked by committee member Michael Ellis whether detectives were considering Section 58A offenses under a section of the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it illegal to “elicit, publish or communicate” information about members of the intelligence services, Dick said: "Yes, indeed we are looking at that."
The offense carries up to 10 years’ imprisonment, according to the Telegraph.
The news came to light after Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, summoned to give evidence at an inquiry, confirmed his newspaper had sent unredacted copies of highly classified documents to other news organizations overseas, Reuters wrote.
As a result, lawmakers said the editor put national security at risk.
But Rusbridger disagreed. He accused British authorities of trying to intimidate the newspaper, according to the Associated Press. The lawmakers' use of the phrase "national security" was only being used as "a trump card" to stifle debate, he said.
How we got here
Scotland Yard's involvement began in the summer after David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was found couriering 58,000 highly classified electronic documents when he landed at London's Heathrow Airport en route from Berlin to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The computer material he was carrying was seized.
His flight had been paid for by The Guardian.
Following this incident, the nation’s three leading spy chiefs told Parliament that terrorists around the world have already been monitored discussing how to evade surveillance by implementing knowledge gleaned from Snowden’s leaks, the Telegraph reported.
“Al-Qaeda is lapping it up,” Sir John Sawers, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, said.
From left to right:  Political journalist  Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden  former National Secur...
From left to right: Political journalist, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency employee
Illustration by Digital Journal
Their testimony prompted Dr Liam Fox, the former defense secretary, to write Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), urging her to set out whether the newspaper breached counter-terrorism laws by publishing secrets which were stolen by Snowden, the Telegraph Uk reported in November.
“No-one has a right to compromise the safety of the people of our country,” Fox wrote.
He then went on to accuse Guardian editor Rusbridger of “exhibit[ing] no sense of understanding, never mind remorse, about what damage might have been done to the safety of individuals or the country.”
Snowden, who is believed to have stolen between 50,000 and 200,000 classified National Security Agency and British government documents containing details about intelligence techniques and capabilities, has been granted temporary asylum by Russia.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has rejected US pleas to send the former National Security Agency contractor home to face charges under the Espionage Act.
More about edward snowden, The guardian, terrorism charges, Scotland yard, alan rusbridger
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