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U.K. Spies Didn’t Break Law Over NSA Program, Panel Says

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- British spies didn’t break the law when they used data collected by the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism program, a panel of lawmakers concluded.

Campaign groups including Privacy International said General Communications Headquarters, the U.K.’s signals-intelligence agency, had breached the rules after the extent of U.S. surveillance programs was exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

In a statement today, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, which oversees GCHQ, described such allegations as “unfounded.” “In each case where GCHQ sought information from the U.S., a warrant for interception, signed by a minister, was already in place, in accordance with the legal safeguards,” the panel said.

The ISC did suggest that the laws governing interception of communications, which were most recently changed in 2000, should be re-examined.

Snowden, a U.S. security contractor, leaked details of NSA programs that collect telephone and Internet data. American prosecutors are seeking his return from Russia, where he sought asylum from theft and espionage charges.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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