David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald who was detained Sunday at Heathrow Airport under Britain’s Terrorism Act, may not have been an innocent spouse caught in the crossfire between reporter Greenwald and the British authorities.
The 28-year-old Brazilian was returning from Berlin, Germany to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When he made his connection at London’s Heathrow airport, he was stopped and detained for the maximum nine hours allowed under British law.
The Heathrow airport security officials seized his laptop, cellphone, game consoles, USB sticks, DVDs, and other items.
Glenn Greenwald reported on the incident for his employer, the Guardian. He described David Miranda as an innocent spouse and said that he’d been unfairly targeted.
At that time, we had only Greenwald’s side of the story. “He is not even a journalist,” Greenwald had claimed in his lengthy description of Miranda’s detention at Heathrow.
However, some reporters have now come forward to challenge the characterization of Miranda as a harmless spouse.
The New York Times said the Guardian had paid for David Miranda’s plane ticket to visit Laura Poitras in Berlin. She’s the filmmaker who has been helping Glenn Greenwald spread Edward Snowden’s leaked information stolen from the NSA.
NYT said that Greenwald has now acknowledged that Miranda’s ticket was paid for by the newspaper. Greenwald also said Miranda was carrying documents related to the Snowden case.
UK’s Telegraph — admittedly one of the Guardian’s competitors — has bluntly called David Miranda a “document mule.”
Their reporter Rob Crilly said, “Miranda was deeply involved in the work to disseminate the NSA leaks. He is no mere friend or relative being squeezed in order to stop a journalist doing his job.”
Scotland Yard confirmed that a 28-year-old Brazilian man was held at Heathrow Airport. But they steered clear of commenting about why they detained David Miranda.
UPDATE: According to Washington Wire, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in the daily White House briefing that the US was given advance notice that David Miranda would be detained at Heathrow Airport. However, he said it wasn’t at the request of the United States.
The David Miranda detention “was a decision that was made by the British government and is something that if you have questions about, you should ask them,” Earnest said.
[Heathrow Airport lines file photo by ricoeurian via flickr, creative commons]