Newly declassified documents show the Obama administration knew in advance the British government would oversee destruction of a newspaper's hard drives containing leaked documents.

Britain's Guardian newspaper was forced last year to destroy the data containing classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The White House had said that taking the same action against a U.S. news organization would likely be inappropriate. Yet emails obtained by The Associated Press show the NSA knew about the destruction and appeared to call it "good news."

The Guardian's top editor says he chose to destroy the drives rather than risk his newspaper being shut down by British authorities.

The White House said Thursday that the British government had acted on its own in destroying the Guardian data.