Date
7 December 2016
London believes the files were decrypted from millions of secret documents downloaded by Edward Snowden (above) from US and British intelligence agencies. Photo: Bloomberg
London believes the files were decrypted from millions of secret documents downloaded by Edward Snowden (above) from US and British intelligence agencies. Photo: Bloomberg

UK pulls overseas spies after Russia, China crack Snowden files

British intelligence agents have been pulled from overseas postings after top-secret information from US whistleblower Edward Snowden was decrypted by Russia and China.

London has ordered its spies in so-called “hostile countries” back to home base, according to the Sunday Times which cited sources from Prime Minister David Cameron’s office.

Britain’s MI6 intelligence service operates in certain countries to defend British interests including those with hostile governments.

Reuters is reporting that the information came from more than 1.7 million secret files downloaded by Snowden from security agencies in the US and Britain in 2013 in which he leaked details about mass surveillance of phone and internet communications.    

Snowden is being sought by the US government which wants it to stand trial. He was granted asylum by Russia in 2013.

He has claimed previously that the classified documents are secure but Britain thinks China and Russia have been able to crack them.

The files contain details that could expose British and American spies overseas, Reuters says.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accused Snowden of damaging the West’s ability to protect its citizens.

However, a source in Cameron’s office said there’s no evidence anyone has been harmed.

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