Luke Harding at the HWS - January 13th 2015

On Tuesday January 13 , Luke Harding entertained and enthralled the audience with the background to his book The Snowden Files.  The controversial tome has just been nominated for The Paddy Power Political Book of the Year.  Oliver Stone is to start shooting a movie based on the Snowden Files in Munich next month.  As the Guardian’s foreign correspondent fresh from Donetsk, ex-Moscow bureau chief, Harding is no stranger to the world of surveillance, danger and confrontation with governments.  Putin would not allow him to re-enter Russia after the publication of his book Mafia State opened the lid on the corruption from the top.

The whole story behind the Snowden Files seems implausible to say the least and if it were a novel would not have been published.  Snowden, an IT geek who works for the NSA in Hawaii and has a pole dancer girl-friend, decides to leak secret documents when he feels the unchecked spying on everyone has reached unconstitutional levels.  We heard about encrypting emails and files, a clandestine rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong and a team at the Guardian reading tens of thousands of files from GCHQ in their bunker at Kings Cross.  We then discovered that the British Government knows so much of what we do and where we go, just from a demonstration of Location Services on our iPhones...

It was a thought provoking evening and no surprise that the Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their ground breaking articles on the National Security Agency's serveillance activities.  No surprise either that the engaging and brilliant Luke Harding won the James Cameron award for investigative journalism.

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