from the he-said,-she-said dept.
Reuters reports that according to the Sunday Times Britain has pulled out agents from live operations in "hostile countries" after Russia and China cracked top-secret information contained in files leaked by former US. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. According to Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times unnamed officials at the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron say China has also cracked the encrypted documents, which contain details of secret intelligence techniques and information that could allow British and American spies to be identified "Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files (paywalled) 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."
However David Davis, the Conservative MP who is one of the leading campaigners for privacy, says: "We have to treat all of these things with a pinch of salt." Davis says the use of an anonymous source to create scare stories was a typical tactic and the timing was comfortable for the government. "You can see they have been made nervous by Anderson. We have not been given any facts, just assertions." Andrew Mitchell, a former cabinet minister, says he is sure the Sunday Times got the story because of the Anderson report and added "I think we have to be very careful of the argument 'listen sonny, we know what you don't know and therefore you should do what we say'. That is not a good argument; we need to have a proper debate about all of this. I don't approve of what Snowden did, but I have to say having been to Washington recently that there has been a massive change of view in the United States, not just people like Rand Paul and so on, there's a massive change of view about the debate and that has resulted from Snowden, whether you like it or not."
[Editor's Comment: There is media interest in the UK regarding this story. It originated from an unnamed source and is without any corroboration.]