Watch The Guardian destroy Snowden hard drives with power tools

edward snowden (wikileaks)

Although both Edward Snowden and his complete stash of documents remain hidden away from the British government, that didn't stop officials from trying to take action: they went after computers at The Guardian containing information leaked by the whistleblower with power tools. Newly released video from the paper shows exactly how editors, under the watchful eye of GCHQ technicians, destroyed countless computers and hard drives, despite knowing the information had already been disseminated around the world. Watch the full video below and on The Guardian.

The paper appropriately describes the destruction as three hours of "hot, sweaty work" — officials protected by masks used angle grinders, drills with revolving bits, and other tools to take apart the hard drives. One by one, the destroyed pieces were then fed into a "degausser," a tool that destroys magnetic fields and erases data. Officials didn't stop there either: they also asked President Obama to force news outlets to destroy any info they had about Snowden, but the president refused. It was a showy, ill-fated attempt to stop more Snowden news from coming out, and that point is made blatantly obvious in this video. Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson told the paper that it was "the most surreal event" he had witnessed in British journalism.

This article has been corrected to state Guardian employees destroyed the computers, not GCHQ officials.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.