LONDON Britain on Tuesday defended the detention under anti-terrorism powers of the partner of a journalist who has written about U.S. and British surveillance programs based on leaks by Edward Snowden, saying it had a duty "to protect the public".
David Miranda, partner of U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, was questioned for nine hours on Sunday at London's Heathrow Airport before being released without charge, prompting calls for an explanation of why anti-terrorism powers were used to detain the Brazilian citizen.
"The government and the police have a duty to protect the public and our national security," a Home Office (interior ministry) spokesman said in a statement.
"If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that.
"Those who oppose this sort of action need to think about what they are condoning."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)