The partner of the US journalist behind the Edward Snowden leaks launched legal action against Britain on Tuesday for holding him under anti-terror laws as the government admitted it was kept informed about his detention.
David Miranda, a Brazilian national who has been working with his boyfriend, Glenn Greenwald, on the US National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence leaks, was held and questioned for almost nine hours at London Heathrow Airport.
“David Miranda is taking a civil action over his material and the way that he was treated,” Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, whose newspaper has worked with Greenwald and Snowden, told the BBC.
British police confiscated Miranda’s mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles, the Guardian said.
“He wants that material back and he doesn’t want it copied,” Rusbridger said.
The detention of Miranda, 28, has caused an international outcry and sparked protests from Brazil. He was traveling home to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin at the time and was held in a Heathrow transit lounge.
British Home Secretary Theresa May revealed she was briefed in advance of Miranda’s detention, but said it was not for her to tell the police whom they should or should not stop at airports.
“If it is believed that somebody has in their possession highly sensitive stolen information which could help terrorists, which could lead to a loss of lives, then it is right that the police act and that is what the law enables them to do,” May said.
Greenwald told CNN he had no evidence that the US ordered the detention, but that he was “disturbed my government was aware of this foreign country’s intent to detain my foreign partner and did nothing to discourage it.”
However, he dismissed as “completely inaccurate” a quote attributed to him vowing to target the British government as revenge for the detention.
Meanwhile, the US National Security Agency’s surveillance network has the capacity to reach about 75 percent of all US Internet communications in the hunt for foreign intelligence, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Tuesday.
Citing current and former NSA officials, the newspaper said the 75 percent coverage is more of Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed. The Journal said the agency keeps the content of some e-mails sent between US citizens and also filters domestic telephone calls made over the Internet.