U.S. knew in advance about Greenwald partner's detention

The White House admits that it was made aware of David Miranda's lengthy detention, but says it did not request it

Published August 19, 2013 7:01PM (EDT)

The latest development relating to the nine-hour detention by U.K. authorities of David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, heavily implicates the U.S. government. According to updates from the Guardian, the U.S. was given a "heads up" before Miranda was detained, his electronics confiscated.

The White House has stated that although no U.S. authorities requested Miranda's questioning under a counterterror statute, they were in advance and during the Brazilian's lengthy ordeal at Heathrow airport. It was also admitted that U.S. authorities has been given access to Miranda's electronics. Now both the U.K. and the U.S. governments have some explaining to do, given that the journalist's partner was held under a Terror Act article.

The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt and Andrew Sparrow rounded up the revelations from a White House press briefing:

• The US was given a "heads up" before David Miranda, partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained in London. White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed on Monday that the UK alerted the US government that they would hold Miranda before he arrived at London's Heathrow airport.

• The White House said it did not give the order for Miranda to be detained, but nevertheless was kept aware of developments. "We had an indication it was likely to occur but it's not something we requested," Earnest said. Pressed on when the US was told Miranda would be held, he added: "It probably wouldn't be a heads up if they had told us about it after the detainment." Earnest said it would be "accurate" to interpret this to mean the US was told Miranda would be detained when his name appeared on the manifest.

• Earnest would not deny that the US had obtained access to Miranda's electronic material. Several items, including laptops, were seized at Heathrow. Asked by a reporter to "rule out that the US has obtained this material", Earnest said: "I'm not in a position to do that right now."

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 nlennard@salon.com.

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David Miranda Detention Glenn Greenwald Heathrow Nsa State Department Terror Act The Guardian White House