The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism awarded to newspapers for publishing Edward Snowden's revelations of mass U.S. intelligence-gathering were denounced as "bizarre" by a prominent British politician.
Dr. Liam Fox, Conservative member of Britain's House of Commons, left no doubt about the contempt he held for the highest award in journalism going to The Washington Post and The Guardian for their "Snowden scoops."
"It's not for me to comment on the quality of journalistic prose," Fox, former defense secretary under Prime Minister David Cameron, told Newsmax following his remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
"But if an award is given for public service for possibly the greatest betrayal of our national secrets of all time, that strikes me as quite bizarre."
During his remarks at the AEI, Fox warned that "there's a real danger of a very cozy media world patting itself on the back without fully understanding the consequences for the dangers we face in a very dangerous world. So I think there's a dangerous disconnect there."
The physician-politician hit particularly hard at The Guardian and its reporter Glenn Greenwald, describing their point of view as "anti-American."
"As for The Guardian newspaper itself, my view was that if I as an individual gave the names of operatives outside a [British] jurisdiction, that would be in breach of the 2000 Terrorism Act in the United Kingdom. If that would apply to me as an individual, why would that not apply to a newspaper?
"This is not about any privileged position of journalism. This is about equal application of the law. Laws are meant to apply to us all equally, not more favorably to some than to others. Now I think that that applies also to a newspaper."
Fox also noted there was an ongoing investigation in Britain over whether The Guardian's disclosures broke the law.
"I asked the Metropolitan Police after having spoken to public prosecutors whether The Guardian had in fact broken either of our main pieces of our terrorist legislation or the Official Secrets Act as a consequence of [examining] 58,000 pieces of highly secret British intelligence, or indeed more specifically, exporting outside the UK jurisdiction the names of British agents and operatives," Fox said.
"That's an ongoing investigation by the Metropolitan Police."
Since the Snowden affair became public, Fox said, "there are questions here about the relationship between government, the Civil Service, and the media. I don't think you can take the view that we don't want the media to be able to portray itself as victims of the state. The state's responsibility is primarily the security of its citizens."
As for the damages from Snowden's revelations, Fox said they have gone beyond matters dealing with national security.
"They have limited the ability of law enforcement officials to break up a pedophile ring or find terrorists at home," he told Newsmax. "And one should think of Snowden and The Guardian when a child is kidnapped or a bombing occurs."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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