This is worth noting.
LONDON (AP) — A British lawmaker on Monday called for police to explain why the partner of a journalist who received classified information from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was detained for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport.
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said that he wants to know why police stopped David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Miranda was held for nearly the maximum time authorities are allowed to detain individuals under the Terrorism Act’s Schedule 7, which authorizes security agencies to stop and question people at borders.
Miranda’s cellphone, laptops and memory sticks were confiscated, Greenwald said.
“What needs to happen pretty rapidly is we need to establish the full facts,” Vaz told the BBC. “Now you have a complaint from Mr. Greenwald and the Brazilian government — they indeed have said they are concerned at the use of terrorism legislation for something that does not appear to relate to terrorism — so it needs to be clarified, and clarified quickly.”
Miranda, 28, was stopped Sunday while traveling home to Brazil after visiting Germany where he met with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has worked with Greenwald on the NSA story. The Guardian reported it paid for Miranda’s flights, but did not immediately respond to a request for elaboration on what his role with the newspaper might be, if any.
Vaz said it was “extraordinary” that police knew that Miranda was Greenwald’s partner, and the authorities were targeting partners of people involved in Snowden’s disclosures.
“Bearing in mind it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances … I’m certainly interested in knowing, so I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation — they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation,” Vaz said.
No matter what you think of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and the whole NSA leak story, this situation has the distinct odor of harassment and vengeance. It also makes the British government look like it is toadying to the United States, and we had enough of that with Tony Blair and his bromance with the Bush administration.
I get that they’re trying to put the NSA leak story off the front pages and keep it quiet. But detaining the partner of a reporter for nine hours and confiscating his electronics doesn’t help. In fact, it makes the authorities look weak and desperate.