British spy bosses: Al-Qaida is loving Snowden's leaks, terror groups changing their behavior

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Associated Press

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 3:33 PM

LONDON (AP) — Britain's spy chiefs say Al-Qaida and other terror groups are "rubbing their hands in glee" over the leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The chief of the eavesdropping agency GCHQ told lawmakers in London today that terror groups in the Middle East and elsewhere have been having "near-daily discussion" of the leaks and discussing how they can switch to more secure means of communication to avoid surveillance.

The chief of the British foreign spy agency MI6 told Parliament that "Al-Qaida is lapping it up."

U.S. officials have repeatedly warned, without providing much evidence, that the leaks are educating America's enemies about how to avoid detection.

The three British spy chiefs, including the head the domestic agency MI5, made the remarks in a highly unusual, televised appearance before the House of Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee. They insisted that their agencies are operating within the law and described their work as proportionate to the threats.

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142-v-33-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)--For the first time, the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies will give televised testimony to British lawmakers as debate swirls over allegations of spying on other governments. Correspondent Kyle McKinnon reports. (7 Nov 2013)

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143-c-20-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)-"here called G-C-H-Q"-Correspondent Kyle reports on a first in Britain: the heads of its three major intelligence-gathering agencies all giving televised testimony. (7 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *143 (11/07/13)££ 00:20 "here called G-C-H-Q"

APPHOTO LON829: In this image taken from TV, the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies face UK lawmakers to give televised testimony for the first time in public, in London Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. The three leaders, from left, Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 and Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, as they take questions from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, questioned on the work of their agencies, their current priorities and threats to the U.K., but not on ongoing operations.(AP Photo / Parliamentary Recording Unit) (7 Nov 2013)

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APPHOTO LON826: In this image made from TV, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 give evidence as the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies face UK lawmakers to give televised testimony for the first time in public, in London Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. The three spy agency leaders Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 and Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, are taking questions from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, questioned on the work of their agencies, their current priorities and threats to the U.K., but not on ongoing operations.(AP Photo / Parliamentary Recording Unit) (7 Nov 2013)

<<APPHOTO LON826 (11/07/13)££

APPHOTO LON830: In this image taken from TV, Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ gives evidence as the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies face UK lawmakers to give televised testimony for the first time in public, in London Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. The three spy agency leaders Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 and Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, are taking questions from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, questioned on the work of their agencies, their current priorities and threats to the U.K., but not on ongoing operations.(AP Photo / Parliamentary Recording Unit) (7 Nov 2013)

<<APPHOTO LON830 (11/07/13)££

APPHOTO LON831: In this image taken from TV, Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5 gives evidence as the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies face UK lawmakers to give televised testimony for the first time in public, in London Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. The three spy agency leaders Andrew Parker head of Britain's domestic security agency MI5, John Sawers head of Britain's foreign spy service MI6 and Iain Lobban director of electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, are taking questions from Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, questioned on the work of their agencies, their current priorities and threats to the U.K., but not on ongoing operations.(AP Photo / Parliamentary Recording Unit) (7 Nov 2013)

<<APPHOTO LON831 (11/07/13)££

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