The domestic partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported classified information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, was
detained at Heathrow Airport over the weekend and interrogated for 9 hours.
UK authorities detained Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, while he was en route from Berlin to Brazil. They held him under an anti-terrorism law, which allows them to detain and question anyone for any reason without stating the cause.
Authorities also “confiscated” Miranda’s laptop, smartphone, memory sticks, camera, and game consoles, the Guardian reports. Glenn Greenwald confirmed to Business Insider this morning that these items, which included a “WiFi watch,” have not been returned.
One initial theory about the detainment in the Twittersphere was that UK authorities were trying to hassle and harass Greenwald, who is obviously the bane of secrecy-loving government authorities these days.
But this morning, geo-political expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group suggested that the motive was far more serious. Bremmer thinks it’s likely that the U.S. and U.K. authorities are preparing “indictments” against Glenn Greenwald.
In response to a question from Business Insider, Bremmer clarified that these indictments would be against Greenwald.
If the U.S. and U.K. governments care about regaining public support for their surveillance and spying tactics, they would probably be well-advised not to hassle the partners of journalists who report on their activities–or, for that matter, the journalists themselves–without having a very clear and public reason for doing so.
This behaviour will rally support for those perceived as brave enough to stand up to authority, and it will not endear public opinion to secret government surveillance causes worldwide, some of which some of the public still very much supports.
Indicting a journalist, meanwhile, would be an even bigger public-relations disaster.
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