"Sunday Times" Reporter On Source For His Snowden Story: "We Just Publish What We Believe To Be The Position Of The British Government"


CNN's George Howell speaks with Sunday Times correspondent Tom Harper about reports that Russia and China have decrypted files stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Harper explains the process of how he and his paper source news stories based on what the British government tells them, without independently checking facts; they even submitted the final draft of the story to the Home Office for approval.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN: I'm joined now by Tom Harper, he is the Home Affairs (immigration, policing, visas) reporting this story... Just want to dive a little deeper here into your reporting, you named unnamed sources. How do senior officials at Number Ten Downing Street know these files were breached?

TOM HARPER, LONDON SUNDAY TIMES: Well I don't know the answer to that. All we know is that this is effectively the position of the British government.

We picked up on it a while ago and we have been working on it and trying to stand it up through multiple sources. When we approached the British government last week with our evidence, they confirmed effectively what you read today in the Sunday Times. It is obviously allegations at the moment from our point of view, and it is really up to the British government to defend it.

HOWELL, CNN: How do they know what was in them if they were encrypted? Has the British government also gotten into these files?

HARPER: The files came from America and the U.K. So they may already have known for some time what Snowden took.

Again that is not something we are clear on, we don't go into that level of detail in the story, we just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government at the moment...

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