The Metropolitan Police has tasked a team of detectives to investigate the Guardian over the Edward Snowden leaks, it has been claimed.
Conservative MP Julian Smith, who has been a vocal critic of the newspaper, wrote to Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe asking him to look into the affair.
Top cop Cressida Dick, already in charge of Ops Elveden & Weeting, investigates the Guardian http://t.co/RprO8suqtG
— Sean O'Neill (@TimesCrime) November 12, 2013
According to the Times, Smith received a letter from Met Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick confirming the investigation.
Dick is the officer in charge of Operations Weeting and Elveden which are looking into illegal phone-hacking by newspapers and corrupt payments to public officials.
Said she has “a team of highly capable detectives dedicated to this investigation who are committed to following the evidence wherever it may lead.
“I hope that you will be able to draw reassurance from our record of achievement in relation to the prosecution of terrorist offences and matters of national security.”
Smith wrote to Scotland Yard last month in a bid to pressure the Met to act.
The MP she he has also written to members of the Scott Trust asking them for information on the Snowden affair.
— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithMP) November 12, 2013
This follows former defence secretary Liam Fox seeking guidance from the Attorney General Dominic Grieve on whether the Guardian had committed a criminal offence in sending the Snowden files abroad.
Fox wanted to know whether the newspaper was guilty of a criminal offence by passing on the files which could identify British agents and security assets abroad.
The Times said the criminal investigation was launched after David Miranda, partner or former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was detained in Heathrow airport while carrying top-secret files.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to answer MPs’ questions about the Snowden files.
A spokesperson for the Guardian said: “We have no details of any criminal inquiry and have not had any contact with the police regarding this matter.”