Posted Aug 19, 2013 04:20 pm CDT
Questions are brewing, and probes demanded over the nine-hour detention Monday of journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner at London’s Heathrow airport.
David Miranda, who lives with the Guardian journalist, was returning home to Rio de Janeiro from a trip to Berlin when officers detained him under the U.K.’s broad-based anti-terrorism act, according to reports by the Guardian and the BBC’s Newshour.
Miranda was held for nine hours, the longest possible detention time under the law. For context, last year some 60,000 people were detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. But only 40 were detained for six hours or more, according to the BBC.
Greenwald’s reporting has come under scrutiny by authorities since his series of articles examining the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance operations were published in June. Greenwald reported on thousands of files sent to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Miranda was released, but he says official confiscated his computer, phone, camera, memory stick, DVDs and video games.
Greenwald condemned the detention as a “profound attack on press freedoms.”
“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 U.K. pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere,” Greenwald is quoted saying. He added that the experience has only emboldened him to report more aggressively.
The New York Times reports that Miranda was in Berlin on a trip paid for by the Guardian and was visiting documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who’s also been working to disseminate details from Snowden’s leaks.
David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, tells the BBC that it’s very unusual for a passenger to be held for the full nine hours and he wanted to ‘get to the bottom’ of what had happened. He’s asked for a full briefing on the matter, NPR reports.