LONDON — Britain’s government ordered the country’s top civil servant to ask the Guardian newspaper to destroy data leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, senior ministers said Wednesday.
The Guardian says it came under pressure from the government soon after it started publishing stories in June about U.S. and British surveillance based on Snowden’s information.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended the decision to ask Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to approach the newspaper.
‘‘The deputy prime minister thought it was reasonable for the cabinet secretary to request that the Guardian destroy data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands,’’ Clegg’s office said in a statement. ‘‘The deputy prime minister felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action.’’ Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.