|Greenwald puts Britain on notice, promising revelations of UK’s shadowy activities
An American journalist based in Brazil and who has written stories based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said he will publish with more fervor after British authorities detained his partner. They also confiscated his personal possessions including laptop, mobile phone, camera external hard drive, DVDs, memory sticks and some paper documents.
London police detained David Miranda under anti-terror legislation as he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London airport Sunday. Miranda, who is in a civil union with reporter Glenn Greenwald (pictured), arrived Monday in Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with the journalist, AP reports.
A defiant Greenwald, who reports for the UK’s Guardian, promised he was going “to write much more aggressively than before'' about government snooping.
“I'm going to publish many more things about England, as well,'' he said in Portuguese at Rio's international airport when Miranda arrived. “I have many documents about England's espionage system, and now my focus will be there, too. I think they'll regret what they've done.''
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US government was tipped off by British counterparts that Miranda would be detained, but the US had not requested the action.
The Brazilian government objected to Miranda's detention.
London's Metropolitan Police defended the decision to detain Miranda, saying the examination was both “necessary and proportionate.''
The statement said an attorney had been offered to Miranda, but the Brazilian later told the Guardian in an interview that he refused the lawyer out of fear of the British government.
Miranda told the Guardian that agents questioning him “were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn't cooperate.''
Miranda said he was seized almost as soon as his plane landed at Heathrow. “There was an announcement on the plane that everyone had to show their passports. The minute I stepped out of the plane they took me away,'' he said.
Miranda was held for nearly the maximum time that British authorities are allowed to detain individuals under the Terrorism Act's Schedule 7, which authorizes security agencies to stop and question people at borders.
The case drew the ire of watchdog groups.
“It's incredible that Miranda was considered to be a terrorist suspect,'' said David Mepham, the British director at Human Rights Watch. “On the contrary, his detention looks intended to intimidate Greenwald and other journalists who report on surveillance abuses.''
Britain's laws are not unique. US customs officials can search the electronic devices of anyone entering the US without a search warrant. According to a 2011 internal Homeland Security Department report, officers at the border can search the devices and in some cases hold on to them for weeks or months. The DHS has said such searches help law enforcement detect child pornographers or terrorists.
Greenwald has written about NSA surveillance programs based on files disclosed by Snowden, who now has temporary asylum in Russia.
Miranda, a 28-year-old university student, was traveling home to Brazil after visiting Germany, where he met with Laura Poitras, a US filmmaker who has worked with Greenwald on the NSA stories.
Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and his British counterpart, William Hague, spoke by phone Monday, the British Embassy in Brasilia said in a statement.
“They agreed that Brazilian and U.K. officials will remain in contact on this issue. This remains an operational matter for the Metropolitan Police,'' British Ambassador Alex Ellis said in an emailed statement.
The Guardian said that it paid for Miranda's flights but that he was not an employee of the newspaper.
“As Glenn Greenwald's partner, he often assists him in his work,'' the newspaper said in a statement. ``We would normally reimburse the expenses of someone aiding a reporter in such circumstances.''
In an email Monday to The Associated Press, Greenwald said that he needed material from Poitras for stories he was working on with her relating to the NSA, and that he had things she needed.
“David, since he was in Berlin, helped with that exchange,'' Greenwald wrote.
Greenwald didn't specify what material Miranda might have been carrying. He said that only he and Poitras ``have copies of the full archives of NSA documents which Snowden gave to journalists.''