Orders To Destroy Guardian Hard Drives Came Directly From PM David Cameron
from the and-now-the-nation-is-more-secure-than-ever! dept
A spokesman for Clegg made clear that Heywood was acting on the authority of both the prime minister and his deputy. The spokesman said: "We understand the concerns about recent events, particularly around issues of freedom of the press and civil liberties. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation is already looking into the circumstances around the detention of David Miranda and we will wait to see his findings.So, let's get this straight. The UK government "understands the concerns" about its recent actions, but apparently wouldn't change a thing if it had to do it all over again.
"On the specific issue of records held by the Guardian, the deputy prime minister thought it was reasonable for the cabinet secretary to request that the Guardian destroyed data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands.
"The deputy prime minister felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action. He was keen to protect the Guardian's freedom to publish, whilst taking the necessary steps to safeguard security.
"It was agreed to on the understanding that the purpose of the destruction of the material would not impinge on the Guardian's ability to publish articles about the issue, but would help as a precautionary measure to protect lives and security."
The usual justification presents itself repeatedly: security uber alles.
The government forced (statement says "request" but we know how these things work) the Guardian to destroy hard drives containing content that was "a serious threat to national security" but still existed elsewhere. The government knew this and still forced the issue and then has the temerity to claim the pointless show of force was about "safeguarding security."
Look at how many times that empty word shows up in this brief statement.
"...serious threat to national security…"None of this was "necessary" or "precautionary." It did nothing. The data that might "threaten national security" is still out there. The government knows because its own defensive statement says the action "wouldn't impinge on the Guardian's ability to publish articles." It was pure muscle-flexing. This security-heavy statement pretty much says precisely that while expending many more words.
"...taking the necessary steps to safeguard security…"
"...a precautionary measure to protect lives and security…"
There's also this:
The deputy prime minister felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action.Awesome. The government would rather throw its weight around than pursue any sort of process that might have allowed the Guardian to dispute the order. How telling. How utterly and vilely telling. Of course the government felt this "approach" was "preferable." Screw the adversarial process. We've got the nation's "security" at stake. Everything else is secondary, including the public's outdated ideals about a free press and a government willing to respect the rights of its citizens.