Last summer, and not too long after Edward Snowden exposed the extent of NSA's spying tactics, The Guardian newspaper in the UK was forced to destroy all of the data that had been provided to it. At the time, I don't remember this news gaining much traction, but it's an important blip on the timeline to note. No longer did Britain want one of its most popular newspapers ruffling the feathers of the US.
When Snowden decided to bring his information to light, it was made sure that the data wasn't just in one location - most people about to drop an epic bombshell would no doubt ensure the same. Well, despite multiple copies of the data floating around, Britain's intelligence agency GCHQ decided to show up unannounced at The Guardian's offices last summer and oversee the destroying of this computer equipment.
As you can see from the image above (and the link below which will bring you to the source video), the computer was rightly destroyed. With the use of power-drills and sand-blasters, I suppose the GCHQ wanted to keep the entire process relatively clean. If I were in charge, I would have ordered the entire PC to sit underneath a mountain of thermite. That might be the pyro in me.
Nonetheless, as has been proven by the numerous stories that have come out of The Guardian - and in particular, Glenn Greenwald - since the the destroying of the data, it accomplished the grand sum of nothing. I'd have a hard time believing that the GCHQ thought anything else would be the case, however. Instead, it simply wanted to clean Britain's hands a bit by no-longer having personal copies of the data. To date, The Guardian still reports on Snowden's discoveries, though as the days pass, the crackdown on freedom-of-speech seems to be getting rougher and rougher.
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