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As Guardian celebrates Pulitzer win, Liam Fox accuses paper of ‘ignorance and arrogance’

By William Turvill

Two days after The Guardian won a Pulitzer Prize in the United States, Britain’s former defence minister Liam Fox will today use a speech in Washington to accuse the paper of “ignorance and arrogance” over its NSA stories.

According to the Daily Mail Fox will describe whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “self-publicising narcissist” and accuse him of “treason”.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who addressed staff yesterday standing on a desk in the paper’s London offices to toast the Pulitzer win, will be accused of having “no sense of understanding, never mind remorse, about what damage might have been done to the security of the country”.

The Guardian has hit back at Fox's words, reported in The Times and Daily Mail, questioning why "certain quarters of the British Establishment are more keen to defend the government's right to gather mass data on its citizens than to champion the legitimate role of a free press in encouraging responsible public debate".

According to the Daily Mail, Fox will tell the American Enterprise Institute in Washington today: “Their toxic mixture of ignorance and arrogance is compounded by basic incompetence in the way in which information has been handled.”

As well as accusing The Guardian and Washington Post of “pathetically amateur behaviour”, Dr Fox will also discuss the potential implications of the revelations.

In a column in The Australian, he wrote that intelligence services “need to be able to do things in secret”.

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“We depend on the legal and moral partnership of our governments and the employees and contractors it uses to maintain the confidentiality of these secrets,” he said.

“Yet all this has been imperilled in the past ten months by the slow public parading of intelligence secrets stolen by the National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, working with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and others.”

In response to Fox's speech, a Guardian spokesman said: "It's a shame that certain quarters of the British Establishment are more keen to defend the government's right to gather mass data on its citizens than to champion the legitimate role of a free press in encouraging responsible public debate." 

After finding out The Guardian and Washington Post were to share the Pulitzer Prize, Rusbridger tweeted that he was "incredibly proud".

After celebrations on Monday, he stood on a table in the paper's North London offices to "toast" the prize yesterday.


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