Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda calls his detainment “ridiculous” and says he was treated “like a terrorist suspect.” Miranda, who was detained at Heathrow Airport for nine hours under anti-terror laws, told The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts:
“They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate,” said Miranda. “They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK … It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” …
They got me to tell them the passwords for my computer and mobile phone,” Miranda said. “They said I was obliged to answer all their questions and used the words ‘prison’ and ‘station’ all the time.”
Miranda is taking legal action to prevent the examination of information that was seized during his detainment, the BBC reports.
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger wrote in a column that British authorities threatened to pursue legal action against the Guardian if it didn’t agree to return or destroy material related to its correspondences with Edward Snowden. He writes that a British official told him: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.” Miranda’s detainment shows that the threat to journalism is growing, Rusbridger wrote.
Miranda’s professional status – much hand-wringing about whether or not he’s a proper “journalist” – is largely irrelevant in these circumstances. Increasingly, the question about who deserves protection should be less “is this a journalist?” than “is the publication of this material in the public interest?”
The White House said Monday it knew that the detention was going to occur. In a talk with reporters, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest answered a question about whether the nine-hour detainment was concerning to President Barack Obama.
…This is [an] independent British law-enforcement decision that was made. I know the suggestion has been raised by some that this is an effort to intimidate journalists and we’ve — with all of you, have been undergoing a pretty rigorous debate on a range of issues related to an independent media, an independent journalist covering the application of national security rules, questions about national-security leaks and other classified or confidential information and policy.
The President, I think, in the course of that debate, has made pretty clear his support for independent journalists, the important role that independent journalists have to play in a vibrant, democratic society like ours.
He’s also talked about the responsibility of the government to protect the right of independent journalists to do their job. So that’s something that the President feels strongly about and has spoken candidly about in the past.
Following the detainment, Greenwald said he’s going to be even more aggressive with his reporting and will publish more documents.