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UK spy chiefs have condemned leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden, telling parliament that they play into the hands of Britain’s enemies.
In their first ever joint public appearance at an unprecedented committee hearing, they slammed the disclosures of the ex-US intelligence contractor.
“The leaks from Snowden have been very damaging,” said Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, the foreign Secret Intelligence Service.
“They put our operations at risk. It’s clear that our adversaries are rubbing their hands with glee. Al Qaeda is lapping it up.”
He was joined by Sir Iain Lobban, the director of Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ and Andrew Parker, the head of the domestic security service MI5.
In the past, such hearings have been held behind closed doors.
Sir John distanced the intelligence services from Britain’s most famous fictional spy – saying agents were not sent out in isolation like James Bond. But results were announced that 007 would be proud of – with 34 terror plots said to have been thwarted since the suicide attacks on London’s transport system in 2005.