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Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger grilled by MPs over Snowden documents

Rusbridger defended his newspaper's use of the more than 58,000 files, saying that it had only published one percent of what Snowden had provided.

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Alan Rusbridger, the Editor of the Guardian newspaper, carries a copy of Peter Wright's book 'Spycatcher' as he arrives at Portcullis House to face questions from the Home Affairs Committee on December 3, 2013 in London, England. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was grilled by the UK Parliament's home affairs committee on Tuesday over reports the newspaper published using leaked documents from former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Rusbridger defended his newspaper's use of the more than 58,000 files, saying that it had only published one percent of what Snowden had provided.

The reports have caused a global debate about privacy rights and security after it was revealed the US, along with its allies, run a massive surveillance system monitoring phone calls and emails at home and around the world.

Despite charges that the reporting weakened national security, Rusbridger said the Guardian was not a "rogue newspaper."

He accused the UK government of intimidating reporters and denied allegations the reports were endangering national security as some members of parliament allege.

Rusbridger acknowledged national security concerns but said they were vague and nothing had been proven. 

"There are different views about this," he said, ac. "It's impossible to assess because no one has given me specific evidence."

The meeting started with a surprising question from MP Keith Vaz, chair of the committee, who wanted to know if Rusbridger loved his country.

“You and I were both born outside this country,” the Yemen-born MP said to Rusbridger, who was born in former British colony Zambia.

“I love this country, do you love this country?”

Rusbridger responded: "We are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of the democracy and the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things."

"There are countries – and they are not generally democracies – where the press are not free to write about this and where the security services do tell editors what to write.

"That's not the country we live in ... and it's one of the things we love about the country."

More from GlobalPost: The Guardian may be investigated on criminal charges

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/131203/guardian-editor-grilled-mps-over-snowden-document