Guardian Staff Could Face Terrorism Charges for Edward Snowden Leaks

On Tuesday, Scotland Yard's head of counter-terrorism told Parliament that the news staff of the Guardian could be investigated on terrorism charges for publishing several articles based on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

During her testimony, Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told lawmakers that Scotland Yard was investigating to see if any laws were broken by the newspaper for publishing—and transporting—the classified files, which allegedly include details about British spies that could put their lives at risk.

From the Guardian:

"We are continuing with that inquiry. We are taking that carefully. There is a lot of difficult material to find our way into. We will go where the evidence takes us. We will be proportionate and careful about every step we take," [Dick] said.

"It appears possible that some people may have committed offenses. We need to establish whether they have or haven't. That involves scoping a huge amount of material."

British authorities confiscated the material from David Miranda earlier this year as Miranda travelled through London on his way to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin. Miranda is the partner of former Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, who was the first journalist to publish from Snowden's documents.

Earlier in the day, British lawmakers accused Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger of breaking the law under Section 58A of the Terrorism Act, which states that it's illegal to publish or communicate information that puts a member of the armed forces or intelligence service at risk.

"It isn't only about what you've published, it's about what you've communicated. That is what amounts, or can amount, to a criminal offense," Commons home affairs select committee member Michael Ellis told Rusbridger.

Rusbridger defended his paper's actions. "We have published I think 26 documents so far out of the 58,000 we've seen, or 58,000 plus. So we have made very selective judgements about what to print. We have published no names and we have lost control of no names," he said.

"We were told that 850,000 people ... had access to the information that a 29-year-old in Hawaii who wasn't even employed by the American government had access," he added.

[Photo of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger via Getty]