Al-Qaeda loving Snowden leaks: UK spy bosses

Al-Qaeda and other British intelligence targets are having a field day with the leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, UK spy chiefs told lawmakers Thursday in a strong condemnation of the American's spying revelations.

Iain Lobban, chief of GCHQ, said his spies have picked up "near-daily discussion" of the unauthorized disclosures among his agency's targets. His colleague John Sawers, chief of the British foreign spy agency MI6, was even more explicit.

"It's clear that our adversaries are rubbing their hands in glee," he told lawmakers. "Al-Qaeda is lapping it up."

Lobban, Sawers and Andrew Parker, head of MI5, Britain's domestic spying agency, were giving their first public, televised testimony to British lawmakers on Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.

All three spy chiefs insisted their agencies operate within the law, guaranteeing parliamentarians that their work was both legal and proportionate.

Syria got a particular amount of attention, with Parker warning that the civil war there was drawing in a large number of British residents to fight in the service of Islamic extremism. He said his intelligence service had "seen low hundreds of people from this country go to Syria".

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