David Miranda (left) and Glenn Greenwald
U.K. Court: Police Acted Properly in Detaining Journalist's Partner

By Ran Aubrey Frazier

Originally published on Advocate.com February 20 2014 4:50 PM ET

A British court has ruled that officials at London's Heathrow Airport acted within their authority last August when they detained journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, for nine hours of interrogation. 

Holding Miranda on national security grounds under Britain's counterterrorism statute, authorities also seized an external hard drive containing classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Miranda, a Brazilian national, was ferrying the documents from Greenwald's colleague Laura Poitras in Berlin to Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro.

In the decision, released yesterday by London's High Court of Justice, Lord Justice Laws conceded that while Miranda's detention constituted "indirect interference" with freedom of the press, national security interests outweighed journalistic concerns. The stop, he wrote, "was a proportionate measure in the circumstances. Its objective was not only legitimate, but very pressing."

Miranda vowed to appeal the decision. In a statement sent to The Intercept, Greenwald's new website, Miranda wrote that he would "keep appealing until the end, not because I care about what the British government calls me, but because the values of press freedom that are at stake are too important to do anything but fight until the end.”

Greenwald published his own statement yesterday on The Intercept, writing, "The UK Government wants to stop disclosure of its mass surveillance activities not because it fears terrorism or harm to national security but because it fears public debate, legal challenges and accountability." 

He continued, "That is why the UK government considers this journalism to be 'terrorism': because it undermines the interests and power of British political officials, not the safety of the citizenry."

Contributor: 
Ran Aubrey Frazier