Greenwald's partner detained for 9 hours at U.K. airport

Authorities held David Miranda at Heathrow for questioning under Terrorism Act

Published August 18, 2013 6:34PM (EDT)

British authorities held and questioned David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's longterm partner, for nine hours on his way from Berlin to Brazil.

Miranda, who lives with the journalist in Rio, was reportedly held for questioning under the Terrorism Act. Greenwald, who has recently been a main vector for reporting leaks on the NSA's vast surveillance dragnet, has reported at length on journalists being harassed and detained at airports in the U.S. (notably, he wrote for Salon on how Laura Poitras, the filmmaker who jointly reported on Ed Snowden's leaks, has been repeatedly stopped and detained for hours for her journalistic work).

Via the Guardian:

The 28-year-old [Miranda] 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.

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

... "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," said Greenwald. "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.

Following the original report of his partner's detention, Greenwald wrote an angry and defiant comment piece, noting:

This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they feel threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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David Miranda Detention Glenn Greenwald Heathrow Laura Poitras Nsa Press Freedom Terrorism Act Whistle-blower