Last July, Guardian staffers Paul Johnson, Sheila Fitzsimons and David Blishen destroyed computers containing files obtained by Edward Snowden while technicians from the Brtitish intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) watched.
The destruction, seen in newly released video and carried out via angle grinders and drills, followed a threat from the British government to close the paper, Luke Harding writes, saying cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood told Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger “to stop publishing articles based on leaked material.”
“At one point Heywood said: “We can do this nicely or we can go to law.” He added: “A lot of people in government think you should be closed down.”
Rusbridger wrote about the destruction last summer, calling the incident “one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history.” The documents were already stored outside the U.K., Rusbridger told Parliament last December. “They lost control of the documents the moment they destroyed them in London,” he said.