The NSA Snooping Scoop: Behind the Guardian’s Risky Plans for Global Expansion


It was a very American story — but a very British scoop. On June 5 Britain’s Guardian newspaper broke the news that the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) are gathering the cell phone data of millions of Americans. According to a top secret federal court order, telecoms company Verizon is obliged, on an “ongoing, daily basis,” to send the NSA information about all telephone calls made on the firm’s network both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

The Guardian’s scoop was a feather in the cap of a venerated British newspaper and a reminder of its ambitious strategy to become a global news brand. The paper has American and Australian digital editions; one-third of its readers are in the U.S., with traffic there up 37% last year, said the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger at the paidContent Live conference in New York in April. The paper has a total…

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