Guardian Reporter’s Partner Detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for Nine Hours

Update: Politico is reporting that the White House knew that David Miranda would be stopped at London's Heathrow Airport before it happened, but it also denied any involvement in the incident.

"This is a decision that they made on their own and not at the request of the United States," White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Ultimately that means that someone high up in the UK government planned this nine-hour detention in advance…

Original Story: David Miranda, the domestic partner of Guardian reporter Glen Greenwald, was detained for nine hours at London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro, according to a report in The Guardian. Greenwald is best known as the reporter who detailed information released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden concerning mobile phone data mining and the agency's PRISM surveillance program.

Miranda was detained on Sunday and held for nine hours by UK authorities under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This allows UK police authorities at airports, ports, and borders, to detain individuals for questioning for up to a maximum of nine hours. According to data collected by the Guardian, most detainees under schedule 7 (over 97 percent) are detained for less than an hour. One in 2,000 people are kept for questioning for more than six hours.

The 28-year-old was kept for the maximum amount of time and then released, but not before authorities confiscated his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs, and even his game consoles.

Politicians, rights groups, and even the government of Brazil expressed concern and outrage over the incident. Greenwald called it a failed attempt at intimidation on the part of UK authorities.

"This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere."

"But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists," he added. "Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."

The Guardian said that it was dismayed about the news and that it is "urgently seeking clarification from the British authorities."

Scotland Yard confirmed that Miranda was detained, but did not provide any further details.

UK Labour MP Tom Watson said that he was "shocked" about the incident and called for transparency on whether any MPs knew about the incident prior to it happening or ordered it to happen in the first place.

"It's almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald's partner was a terrorist suspect," he said. "I think that we need to know if any ministers knew about this decision, and exactly who authorized it. The clause in this act is not meant to be used as a catch-all that can be used in this way."

The government of Brazil expressed "grave concern" over the detention of one of its citizens.

"This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation," the statement read. "The Brazilian government expects that incidents such as the one that happened to the Brazilian citizen today are not repeated."

Finally, Widney Brown, Amnesty International's senior director of international law and policy, said that it had a lot of doubts that the detention of Miranda was "random." Brown denounced the act as "unlawful and inexcusable."

"There is simply no basis for believing that David Michael Miranda presents any threat whatsoever to the UK government," Brown said. "The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analyzing the data released by Edward Snowden."

Source: The Guardian

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