Sunday David Miranda was traveling through Heathrow Airport, on his way to Rio de Janeiro. British agents arrested him and confiscated his personal belongings on charges of terrorism. Glenn Greenwald is Miranda’s partner, and the man to whom Edward Snowden leaked NSA secret documents outlining the PRISM operation which spies on American and foreign citizens. Greenwald said he will release more secrets in retaliation for the arrest of his partner.
The White House said they had been told about Britain’s plans, but had no part in the planned arrest.
“This is a decision they made on their own,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing.
Response from Greenwald was fast and furious.
“I have many more documents to report on, including ones about the UK, where I’ll now focus more. I will be more aggressive, not less, in reporting,” said Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese to reporters at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport, Reuters reported.
“When they do things like this, they show the world their real character. It’ll backfire. I think they’ll come to regret it,” he said.
Brazilian authorities also condemned the actions by the UK, saying Miranda’s arrest was “without justification.”
“Now you have a complaint from Mr. Greenwald and the Brazilian government. They have said that they are concerned at the use of terrorism legislation for something that does not appear to relate to terrorism. So it needs to be clarified and clarified quickly,” said Keith Vaz, a Labor lawmaker who chairs parliament’s powerful interior affairs committee.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Any suggestion that terror powers are being misused must be investigated and clarified urgently – the public support for these powers must not be endangered by a perception of misuse.”
Labour MP Tom Watson called the incident “clearly an embarrassment for the government.” He questioned if the members of Parliament had been informed of the action prior to Miranda’s arrest.
Michael Mansfield, one of Britain’s leading human rights lawyers, told Reuters that the action amounted to an act of oppression.
“The detention of David Miranda is a disgrace and reinforces the undoubted complicity of the UK in US indiscriminate surveillance of law-abiding citizens. The fact that Snowden, and now anyone remotely associated with him, are being harassed as potential spies and terrorists is sheer unadulterated state oppression,” he said.
Widney Brown of Amnesty International was dubious that Miranda could be a threat to Britain’s security.
“He was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be used for petty vindictive reasons. There is simple no basis for believing that David Miranda presents any threat whatsoever to the UK government,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Journalism may be embarrassing and annoying for governments but it is not terrorism,” Bob Stachwell from the Society of Editors told the BBC.
Miranda is a 28-year-old Brazilian citizen. He was detained for nine hours before being released without charges against him. They confiscated his laptop, mobile phone, and flash drives.
He was suspected of having flash drives which contained encrypted information from Edward Snowden.
Greenwald said that only he and Poitras have “copies of the full archives of NSA documents which Edward Snowden gave to journalists, so much of the speculation about what [Miranda] was or wasn’t carrying is misinformed.”
Edward Snowden, who has temporary asylum in Russia, has given Greenwald approximately 20,000 pieces of information, some of which the Guardian says it will release soon.
James Turnage Reporting