London's Metropolitan Police are refusing to provide information on their investigation of journalists alleged to have received information from renegade former National Security Agency techie Edward Snowden, claiming that the investigation must be kept secret because of the "possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity."
When a journalist with The Intercept filed a request with the police for information on the two-year-old investigation into journalists for The Guardian and their involvement with Snowden, the police stonewalled, The Intercept writes
, claiming that national security is involved.
"To confirm or deny whether we hold any information concerning any current or previous investigations into the alleged actions of Edward Snowden could potentially be misused, proving detrimental to national security," the refusal letter
, from information manager Karen Fox, states.
"In this current environment, where there is a possibility of increased threat of terrorist
activity, providing any details even to confirm or deny that any information exists could assist any group or persons who wish to cause harm to the people of the nation which would undermine the safeguarding of national security," the refusal letter continues.
Snowden, now living as a fugitive in Russia under political asylum, in 2013 released thousands of classified government documents which showed massive government surveillance of phones and emails of private citizens, Recode reports
In 2013, British police detained David Miranda, partner of former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, at Heathrow Airport, and seized a laptop, a cell phone, DVDs and memory sticks believed to contain information from Snowden, The Guardian reported
At that time, Scotland Yard's Cressida Dick confirmed that police were investigating The Guardian staff, which still could face criminal charges over their dealings with Snowden's classified material.
The Metropolitan police termed the information seized from Miranda to be "highly sensitive" and said it "could put lives at risk," The Intercept reports, adding, "a counterterrorism detective for the force told a court the case was being viewed as likely to be a 'conspiracy with a global dimension.' "
The Intercept filed a complaint over the response with the Information Commissioner's Office but, in an emailed statement, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said, "we won't be adding to the FOI (Freedom of Information) response," The Intercept reports.
Snowden remains charged in the U.S.
with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and "willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person," under espionage laws.
Each count could carry the penalty of up to 10 years in prison, Politico reports
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