David Miranda was detained for almost nine hours by British terrorism authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow Airport while traveling from Berlin to his home in Brazil. Miranda lives with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist whose stories on the secrets divulged by Edward Snowden has caused consternation to officials in London and Washington. Miranda was released after nine hours but Britain kept his laptop, camera, phone, memory sticks, DVDs and game consoles. The Guardian said through a spokesman that "we were dismayed that the partner of a Guardian journalist who has been writing about the security services was detained for nearly nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport. We are urgently seeking clarification from the British authorities."
Greenwald was less measured. "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," he said in a Guardian story. "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 UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.
"But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."
Miranda was detained under a controversial section of the UK's terrorism law that makes it a crime to not cooperate with interrogation. From the newspaper:
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours....
Since 5 June, Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing the NSA's electronic surveillance programmes, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Guardian has also published a number of stories about blanket electronic surveillance by Britain's GCHQ, also based on documents from Snowden.
While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian.
Guardian photo of Miranda, left, and Greenwald