Snowden leaks 'worst ever'

Edward Snowden's leaks of UK surveillance programmes have been the "most catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever", according to the former head of British listening post GCHQ.

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Big Brother Watch: 'Britain needs more discussion'

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch, said:

This speech is more striking for what it did not say.

No recognition that Britain's legal framework was drawn up before Google existed, no acknowledgment that our antiquated oversight mechanism may need further reform, no mention of the US Government's moves towards increased transparency and oversight.

The fact he does not feel GCHQ's reach should be publicly discussed is in stark contrast to the US government's efforts to maintain public confidence by bringing further transparency and oversight to the reach of the NSA.

People will rightly question why, if the US congress can publicly debate the reach of their agencies, the British public should be denied any details of what is happening here.

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