The reporter who revealed mass surveillance by the US authorities has said he will not be deterred from further reporting after the British government detained his partner and confiscated electronic data.
Glenn Greenwald said on Monday that the UK would regret the detention of David Miranda, who was held for nine hours under an anti-terrorism law at London’s Heathrow Airport. His electronic devices were confiscated and he was questioned about his private life.
Greenwald, who writes for the Guardian newspaper, has worked closely with US whistleblower Edward Snowden to expose mass intelligence-gathering by US and UK spies.
Greenwald said the detention was an attempt to intimidate him for publishing documents leaked by Snowden.
Emboldened by detention
Asked if Miranda’s detention would deter future reporting, Greenwald said: “Absolutely not. If anything, it will do the opposite. It will embolden me: 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.
“I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I have many documents on England’s spy system. I think they will regret what they have done.”
Brazil’s government has also complained about Miranda’s detention as unjustified.
Miranda said six British agents questioned him continuously in a room at Heathrow airport. He was freed and his passport was returned only when he started shouting in the airport lounge, he said.
Under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, UK authorities are allowed to stop, search and detain passengers at rail, air and sea ports without probable cause, for up to nine hours. Only 40 of the 60,000 to 70,000 people questioned under schedule 7 have been held for more than six hours.
Last night when asked, White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not deny that the US had been given data held on Miranda’s electronic devices. Asked to rule out the possibility, he replied: “I am not in a position to do that right now.”
Earnest said that the US had been given a “heads up” by UK authorities that Miranda was to be detained, but had not requested his detention.
Greenwald met Snowden in June in Hong Kong, from where he published the first of many reports disclosing mass, warrantless surveillance of telephone and internet traffic by the National Security Agency. He has also revealed details of surveillance of billions of internet communications by the UK’s GCHQ.
Snowden faces criminal charges in the US for his actions. He is currently living in Russia, which has rejected US calls for his return.