Most sensible thing I’ve read yet, via Charlie Beckett.
UPDATE: Scratch that — make that this:
On top of that, the whole scenario seems like, well, a bad movie — from the incident to the dialogue. While the cluelessness of government bureaucrats is a seemingly unending resource, it doesn’t take a genius even at the DMV to know that data can be moved anywhere in the world, and that destroying a hard drive probably won’t do anything. Why demand that the Guardian destroy the drives themselves, too, rather than just confiscate them? Wouldn’t that have have been more secure, and kept passing Chinese agents from accessing them? (For that matter, intelligence services have more requirements for disabling hard drives than just smashing them on the floor, I’d bet.) Perhaps GCHQ didn’t have the legal authority to confiscate it, but if that’s the case, they didn’t have the legal authority to force the Guardian to destroy them, either. I assume Rusbridger knows a couple of barristers in the London area who could have advised him on this issue at the time.
Wouldn’t “brave” journalists — at the very brave and progressive and so forth Guardian of all things — throw themselves on top of the hard drives rather than let them be destroyed, just out of principle (and, frankly, to satisfy their own self-image as noble and fearless?)