The government’s statement claims possession of the documents by Mr Miranda, Mr Greenwald and the Guardian posed a threat to national security, particularly because Mr Miranda was carrying a password alongside a range of electronic devices on which classified documents were stored.
Keeping passwords separate from the computer files or accounts to which they relate is a basic security step.
Oliver Robbins, the deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office, said in his 13-page submission: “The information that has been accessed consists entirely of misappropriated material in the form of approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents.
“I can confirm that the disclosure of this information would cause harm to UK national security."
It bothers me to have to say this, but is it possible that out of 58,000 documents, Greenwald et als don't know what all they have their hands on, might actually have some information that would compromise human intelligence assets (that is to say, get friendly folks killed) and lack the good sense not to handle them like a Kindle full of trashy novels? Just asking. Because the road to ruin is paved with good intentions slathered in a mortar of stupid. And this episode looks like a trowel-full of the latter, even if you allow that the journalists in question are brimming with the former. And would this not suggest reasons why people do keep government secrets secretively?
(And in other news, I remain fascinated by the tale of Our Man in Moscow, whose mysterious inability to berth himself in any other asylum-granting happy spot--Venezuela, Ecuador, Fernando Poo, Latveria, Qwghlm--having set forth on the curious route of Hong Kong to Sheremetyevo, has not entirely been explained. One does not know what to make of his spending time in the Russian consulate prior to embarking for Moscow. I know he's not the story, either. But if you don't find that interesting, what does interest you?)