Snowden leaks forced British spies’ pullout from Russia, China – report
The British MI6 secret service had to suspend operations of its field agents due to imminent exposure in “hostile” countries such as Russia and China, caused by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, the Sunday Times reports.
The Sunday Times alleges that both Moscow and Beijing have succeeded in cracking top-secret encrypted documents leaked by Snowden and thus learnt MI6’s methods.
The British media outlet cited unnamed officials in Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, the Home Office and national security services.
An official in PM Cameron’s cabinet said that as far as he knew there was “no evidence of anyone being harmed,” although allegedly Britain had been deprived of the opportunity to get the information it wanted.
“It is the case that the Russians and Chinese have information. It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information,” the Sunday Times was told.
At the same time, another senior British official said Snowden had “blood on his hands.”
Russia and China will be going through Snowden’s material “for years to come,” in order to find clues to identify potential agents, a British intelligence source told the media outlet.
“Snowden has done incalculable damage,” he said, saying evacuation of agents was a forced necessity because otherwise they would have been “identified and killed.”