U.K. Police Defend Detention of Brazilian at Heathrow
By Eddie Buckle & Raymond Colitt - Aug 20, 2013 8:39 AM ET
London police said the detention of the Brazilian partner of a journalist who broke news on U.S. surveillance programs was “legally and procedurally sound,” as Brazil called it unjustified.
David Miranda was held for questioning for as long as nine hours at London’s Heathrow airport Aug. 18 under the U.K. Terrorism Act. His partner, Glenn Greenwald, who reported for theGuardian newspaper on former security contractor Edward Snowden’s allegations of U.S. surveillance programs, said he will publish revelations on U.K. intelligence after the incident.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald said the detention of his partner would not intimidate him and that he has many documents on England’s system of espionage he will reveal. Photographer: Vincent Yu/AP Photo
The examination “was subject to a detailed decision-making process,” London’s Metropolitan Police Service said in an e-mailed statement late last night. “The procedure was reviewed throughout to ensure the examination was both necessary and proportionate.”
Miranda was returning to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin, where he had spent a week with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has worked on the National Security Agency stories with Snowden and Greenwald, the Guardian reported. The U.K. newspaper said it paid for Miranda’s flights and that, while he isn’t a Guardian employee, he often assists Greenwald in his work.
“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,” the Home Office in London said in an e-mailed statement today.
Lawyers for Miranda said they will challenge the legality of the detention and asked the Home Office not to distribute any material seized on Aug. 18.
“We are most concerned about the unlawful way in which these powers were used and the chilling effect this will have on freedom of expression,” Kate Goold, a criminal lawyer at London-based Bindmans LLP, said in a statement.
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry expressed “grave concern” over the Heathrow incident, according to a statement on its website. “This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimize the use of that legislation,” the ministry said.
“I will report much more aggressively than before,” Greenwald told Globo TV after welcoming Miranda at Rio’s international airport yesterday. “They will regret what they did.”
Snowden, a 30-year-old former security contractor, released a trove of classified documents in June that showed efforts by the NSA to log domestic and international phone calls and track electronic messages on social media. Facing criminal charges in the U.S., Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia, straining relations between the countries.
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the U.K. Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, said he has written to the head of the Met requesting a justification of the use of the anti-terrorism law in this case.
Miranda “was offered legal representation while under examination” and a lawyer was present, the Met said in its statement. Miranda told Globo TV that British authorities confiscated his computer and mobile telephone.
To contact the reporters on this story: Eddie Buckle in London at firstname.lastname@example.org; Raymond Colitt in Brasilia Newsroom at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at firstname.lastname@example.org