Rusbridger reveals 'relief' at 300-page Obama-commissioned report into Snowden revelations

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has written about the way his title’s journalism has been vindicated by a 300-page report on surveillance which was commissioned by the President Obama.

The report makes more than 40 revelations about how the US National Security Agency needs to change the way it deals with private information in the wake of revelations first made by The Guardian on the basis of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rusbridger contrasted the US reponse to the Snowden revelations with British cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood who six months ago visited The Guardian office to say there had been enough “debate” on intelligence agencies and surveillance.

He also drew contrast with British spy chiefs who 10 weeks ago told MPs that the Guardian revelations had aided terrorists. And he condemned as “shameful” an article written by former Independent editor Chris Blackhurst in which he said: “If the security services insist something is contrary to the public interest, and might harm their operations, who am I to disbelieve them?”

Writing in The Guardian in October, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre accused The Guardian of putting British lives at risk by helping terrorists.

But Rusbridger said: “Obama's panel of experts profoundly disagree: ‘It will not do for the press to be fearful, intimidated or cowed by government officials,’ they write. ‘If they are, it is We the People who will suffer. Part of the responsibility of our free press is to ferret out and expose information that government officials would prefer to keep secret when such secrecy is unwarranted.'"

Noting the extensive coverage of the surveillance debate prompted by The Guardian in the US, Rusbridger said: “In the UK the picture has been rather different. Westminster, the BBC and much of the press have shown little appetite in examining or discussing the Snowden revelations, a state of affairs that has certainly suited a nervous Whitehall and Downing Street."

Watch The Guardian's interactive report: NSA files Decoded here.

Read the full report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World here.

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