U.K. police given extended authority to investigate Miranda data

High court allows police to look at Greenwald's partner's seized devices

By Natasha Lennard
Published August 30, 2013 2:23PM (EDT)
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald (R) and his partner David Miranda         (Associated Press)
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald (R) and his partner David Miranda (Associated Press)

Previously under the narrower remit of a national security investigation, a high court in the U.K. has granted London's Metropolitan Police the extended powers to investigate the data seized from devices confiscated from Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, during his detention at Heathrow airport.

The court's ruling is another troubling example of, as Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has repeatedly described it, "conflating journalism with terrorism." The police investigation aims to see whether Miranda's transportation of the encrypted data violated anti-terror laws and the Official Secrets Act. Via the Guardian:

[T]he police will now be allowed to examine the material to investigate whether a crime of "communication of material to an enemy" has been committed as well as possible crimes of communication of material about members of the military and intelligence services that could be useful to terrorists.

Miranda had been travelling from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro via London on behalf of his partner, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who has exposed mass digital surveillance by US and UK spy agencies based on leaked secrets obtained by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Home Office also placed before the court a witness statement from Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser in the Cabinet Office. In it, he claimed the encrypted material seized from Miranda includes personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to their lives and those of their family members.

In a statement in response, Miranda's attorney noted:

Mr Miranda does not accept the assertions they have made and is disappointed that the UK government is attempting to justify the use of terrorist powers by making what appear to be unfounded assertions.

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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