In front of the press yesterday, White House mouthpiece Josh Earnest revealed that the British government provided the White House a “heads up” that the detainment of David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was going to be made at the Heathrow airport in London.
On Sunday Miranda, who was traveling back to his home in Rio de Janerio, was held by UK authorities for nine hours under section 7 of the British terrorism act.
“This is something that we had a indication was likely to occur, but its not something we requested. It was something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials there,” Earnest told the press.
He went on,”The United States was not involved in that decision or that action.. If you have questions about it I refer you to the British Government.”
Miranda told reporters after his release, “I was kept in a room with six agents coming in and out asking me about everything, my whole life. They took my computer, my video games, my mobile phone and memory card, everything.”
Glenn Greenwald labeled the arrest intimidation towards journalist’s.
“This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process,” Greenwald told the Guardian on Sunday. “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.”
Earnest gave no indication of any discouragement of Miranda’s detainment on the part of the United States.
“This is the British government, making a decision based on British law, on British soil, about a British law-enforcement action,” claimed Earnest.
Glenn Greenwald has vowed that his reporting will go on unaffected by the detainment of his partner.
The passiveness of the White House to prevent such lawless scrutiny is a frightening signal of where the land of the free, home of the brave stands when it comes to the press’s ability to freely report.
Update [8/19 6:47 ET]: the Telegraph is reporting that encrypted files belonging to Edward Snowden were seized during Miranda’s detainment.
Paul Lawrance is a free lance journalist who writes for eyesopenreport.com.