WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – The partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has been at the center of reporting information provided by Edward Snowden about the practices of the National Security Agency, was reportedly detained for almost nine hours at Heathrow Airport.
CBS News learned that the man, David Miranda, was held under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, which allows security officials to detain people attempting to cross borders. The network also discovered that several of Miranda’s items – including his cell phone, laptops and memory sticks – were confiscated by security.
While speaking with CBS Radio news, Greenwald referred to the incident as “extremely disturbing.”
“First of all, it’s a complete misuse of their own law. The law is called the Terrorism Act of 2000. It says right in the law that it’s for the purpose of investigating people who are associated with terrorist organizations or involved in terrorist plots, which obviously had nothing with what caused them to detain him or what they asked him about,” he said, according to CBS News. “Secondly, it’s incredibly menacing for governments to not only target journalists who are publishing stories that they dislike, but the family members and spouses of journalists.”
He added, “It’s designed to be bullying and intimidating.”
Greenwald also addressed the matter in a post to the Guardian’s website, which begins with a description of Miranda’s detention.
“David had spent the last week in Berlin, where he stayed with Laura Poitras, the U.S. filmmaker who has worked with me extensively on the NSA stories. When he arrived in London this morning, he was detained,” he wrote, adding that he was not called about the incident until three hours into Miranda’s interrogation.
Miranda was also denied the right to have a lawyer, or to speak with Greenwald, the reporter noted. The unnamed official, who would only identify himself to Greenwald as “203654,” also said that security officials had the right to detain him for up to nine hours.
He added, “[T]hey obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which … Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying.”
Snowden, an ex-NSA systems analyst, is accused of leaking details about highly secretive government surveillance programs. He roiled the United States intelligence agencies and upended U.S. relations around the globe with his disclosures of highly classified programs that allow the United States to collect millions of pieces of data, including Americans’ phone records.
The government has charged him with violations of the Espionage Act in federal court in Alexandria, Va.
Russia recently granted temporary asylum to Snowden, defying Obama administration demands that the former government contractor be sent back to the U.S. to face espionage charges.
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