NSA

Pissing off the Government Via Investigative Journalism Can Be Bad for Your Loved Ones: Glenn Greenwald's Partner Detained, Possessions Stolen Under UK Terrorism Act [UPDATED]

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Via the Guardian, for whom Glenn Greenwald has done much reporting, including a lot of the best stuff on Edward Snowden's NSA revelations:

The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National SecurityAgency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.30am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. Accordingto 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.

Miranda was then released without charge, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles…

Reason on Greenwald.

UPDATE: Greenwald on his experience:

At 6:30 am this morning my time—5:30 am on the East Coast of the US—I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a "security official at Heathrow airport." He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been "detained" at the London airport "under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000."….

At the time the "security official" called me, David had been detained for 3 hours….The official—who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654—said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.

I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done….

Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian's lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David….

According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, "fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders" (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). Moreover, "most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour." An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.

The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism….

But they 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 Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop "the terrorists", and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name…

UPDATE II: According to the New York Times, the targeting of Miranda–while still having nothing whatever to do with terrorism investigations, remember–was not random harassment either. They apparently knew that Miranda had Snowden-related documents on a thumb drive on his person, which they stole, ones that documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras had given him to bring to Greenwald.