You cannot expect to openly transfer illegally obtained Top Secret documents about government surveillance without suffering detainment at the hands of the government.
And yet The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald is furious that his husband, David Michael Miranda, was detained by the UK government for 9 hours
while transferring leaked National Security Agency surveillance documents from Laura Poitras in Berlin to Greenwald in Rio De Janeiro.
Greenwald explained his outrage in the Times:
“What’s amazing is this law, called the Terrorism Act, gives them a right to detain and question you about your activities with a terrorist organisation or your possible involvement in or knowledge of a terrorism plot,” Mr. Greenwald said. “The only thing they were interested in was N.S.A. documents and what I was doing with Laura Poitras. It’s a total abuse of the law.” He added: “This is obviously a serious, radical escalation of what they are doing. He is my partner. He is not even a journalist.”
What Greenwald fails to acknowledge is that, from the government’s perspective, exposing top secret surveillance methods used to prevent terrorism is itself a threat to national security. Before letting a civilian walk away with potentially critical security information, it makes sense that the UK would detain him (maybe 9 hours wasn’ t necessary), search his belongings, and probably mirror his hard drives.
Intelligence expert and National Security writer Joshua Foust described the UK terror law as “odious,” but also said Greenwald used his husband as “authority-bait” and should have expected the detainment:
Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of his decision to help pilfer and distribute the treasured secrets of several governments, to do so openly, with such braggadocio, is not only arrogant it is misguided.
This is not a game, especially to the governments being exposed, and casually involving a spouse to take a hit when he won’t risk it is a bizarre and troubling decision … it’s a bit difficult to see why anyone would be surprised that he would be at the very least questioned by British authorities.
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