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Jack Straw Attacks Guardian Newspaper For 'Adolescent Excitement' Over Snowden Leaks

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JACK STRAW
PA

Former Labour home secretary Jack Straw has accused The Guardian of behaving like a naive and excited teenager in its decision to publish information obtained from Edward Snowden.

According to the newspaper, Straw said the the broadsheet had engaged in "indulgent irresponsibility" in publishing some of its stories. "You can always justify everything, if you’re a newspaper, on the grounds that this is open journalism," he said.

"But this is about much more than journalism, it’s genuinely about how we protect the national interest. And that’s not just about protecting the ‘establishment’, it’s about keeping people safe, it’s about avoiding another 7th of July 2005."

He added: "There sense of power of having these ‘secrets’ and excitement, almost adolescent excitement, about these secrets."

The veteran Labour cabinet minister said he thought the story had "gone to their head" and were "blinding themselves about the consequence".

He said also said The Guardian was "showing an extraordinary naivety and arrogance in implying that they are in a position to judge whether or not particularly secrets which they publish are or are not likely to damage the national interest".

The Guardian hit back at Straw by pointing out that the MP has never had a problem with the surveillance state. In his autobiography he revealed that he was "neither surprised nor shocked" when he was told in 1974 that the intelligence agencies had been spying on his family.

His comments came after Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable said The Guardian had performed "a very considerable public service" in publishing secret material leaked by whistle-blower Snowden, which revealed the extent of mass surveillance programmes operated by the US National Security Agency and Cheltenham-based GCHQ.

But David Cameron's official spokesman said there was no government review into the oversight of the intelligence agencies. "It is open, of course, to anyone on the National Security Council to go and speak to the agencies, discuss with them, ask questions about what they do. Of course that is open to anyone on the National Security Council, in fact any privy councillor," the spokesman said. But he stressed: "There is not a government review."

Earlier this week, MI5 head Andrew Parker warned that the Snowden leaks were a "gift" to terrorists, by exposing the ''reach and limits'' of the GCHQ listening post.

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