Britain detains partner of journalist linked to Snowden

LONDON Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:27am EDT

1 of 4. U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald (L) walks with his partner David Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport August 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - British authorities used anti-terrorism powers on Sunday to detain the partner of a journalist with close links to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who has been granted asylum by Russia, as he passed through London's Heathrow airport.

The 28-year-old David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen and partner of U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald who writes for Britain's Guardian newspaper, was questioned for nine hours before being released without charge, a report on the Guardian website said.

A British Metropolitan Police Service spokesman said a 28-year-old male had been detained at Heathrow airport under provisions of the 2000 Terrorism Act. That law gives British border officials the right to question someone "to determine if that individual is a person concerned in the commission, preparation or execution of acts of terrorism."

Snowden faces criminal charges in the United States after leaking documents disclosing previously secret U.S. internet and telephone surveillance programs. Russia rejected American pleas to send Snowden back to the United States for trial, instead granting him a year's asylum on August 1.

Rio de Janeiro-based Greenwald has interviewed Snowden and used 15,000 to 20,000 documents that Snowden passed to him to reveal details of the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance methods.

Miranda was returning to Brazil from Berlin and was in transit at Heathrow, Greenwald said in a column posted on the Guardian website. He said British authorities seized his partner's laptop, cellphone and USB sticks.

"This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ," Greenwald wrote, referring to Britain's Government Communications Headquarters.

Brazil's government complained about the detention of Miranda at Heathrow for nine hours incommunicado under the British anti-terrorism law.

"This measure has no justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can warrant the use of this legislation," the Brazilian foreign ministry said in a statement.

A statement from the Guardian said it was "dismayed" at Miranda's detention and that it would be pressing British authorities for an urgent clarification.

(Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Editing by Chris Reese and Will Dunham)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (12)
vopice wrote:
Just one word comes to mind, regarding government spying. It is IMPUNITY. Give it a try, read Orwell’s 1984, think about and realize, that there is nothing you can do about it. Even leaks like Snowden’s will accomplish nothing. No matter who you vote for, the masters of puppets will always be hidden in a darkness behind the scene.

Aug 18, 2013 9:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Orwelian84 wrote:
Just like authoritarian dictators lose their legitimacy because of their over reliance on force, so too will the governments of Britain and the United States because of their over reliance on “terrorism” as a justification for denying basic civil liberties to “dissidents”.

This is yet another PR blunder on their part, any information they may have gained will be overshadowed by the negative press they will get over the coming weeks. This issue unites left and right, progressive, green, liberal, and conservative in opposition to the security state.

All power requires legitimacy, and these governments are losing it faster than they can hope to reclaim it. Even the fake warning of terrorist attacks against embassies has done nothing to temper the vitriolic opposition to the NSA/GCHQ spy programs.

Aug 18, 2013 9:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TeMpTeK1 wrote:
What a coincidence the guy lawfully , unlawfully detained for 9 hrs by the UK on a US pressured fishing expedition bears the last name Miranda…The walls of freedom are closing in but its all good people.. its for your safety.. nothing to see here , move along.

Aug 18, 2013 9:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.