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Cameron: Britain 'damaged' by Snowden leaks

British premier David Cameron has accused the Guardian newspaper of "damaging" national security. Its reporter Glenn Greenwald, who broke leaks from the US fugitive Edward Snowden, says he has a new media project.

The publication of leaked intelligence documents by the Guardian newspaper in recent months had damaged Britain's national security, Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Wednesday.

Glenn Greenwald, the Brazil-based Guardian reporter who broke many of the Snowden stories, mainly about secret US surveillance programs, said on Wednesday that he was leaving the newspaper for an unspecified "dream" project.

Cameron was replying to a question by former Defense Secretary Liam Fox, who told parliament that it was "bizarre" that past cases in Britain of hacking of celebrity phone calls by the former News of the World had resulted in prosecutions while Snowden's leaks had resulted only in "debate."

Cameron replied in parliament that he thought the disclosures in the Guardian had "damaged national security."

"And in many ways the Guardian themselves admitted that when they agreed - when asked politely by my national security adviser and cabinet secretary to destroy the files they had - they went ahead and destroyed those files."

"So they know that what they're dealing with is dangerous for national security," Cameron said.

In August, the Guardian said that experts of Britain's electronic eavesdropping center GCHQ had supervised the destruction of hard drives and memory chips held by the newspaper on which Snowden's data had been stored.

The Guardian defended the Snowden leaks, saying they had opened a debate about secrecy and freedom of speech.

In recent days, MI5 security intelligence service head Andrew Parker said the leaks could have helped "terrorists."

Greenwald to lead 'dream project'

Greenwald told the online news site BuzzFeed that he had been presented with a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity."

It was a "very well-funded… very substantial news media outlet," Greenwald said, adding that political journalism would remain "my focus."

BuzzFeed said Greenwald would continue to live in Rio de Janeiro but the new outlet's hubs would be in New York, Washington and San Francisco.

The Washington Post newspaper said Greenwald's venture would be backed by the eBay auction website founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar.

Brazil keen to interview Snowden

Brazil's federal police and a Brazilian Senate investigative panel say they are keen to interview Snowden about US cyber spying in Brazil - possibly via videoconference.

Addressing the United Nations last month, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff slammed the United States for breaching data privacy and called for international regulation of electronic eavesdropping.

Her remarks followed Brazilian media reports based on documents leaked by Snowden that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had intercepted Brazilian government communications.

Snowden, who received asylum in Russia in August, is wanted in the United States on charges such as espionage for leaking details of the NSA's worldwide snooping activities.

ipj/kms (AFP, AP Reuters)