British authorities were within their rights to detain journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours last August and to seize an external hard drive containing classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, three high court judges in the U.K. have ruled.
David Miranda, who lives with Greenwald in Brazil, was stopped at London’s Heathrow Airport last August as he was making his way home from Europe.
According to The Guardian, the news outlet where Greenwald first broke his reports about former National Security Agency analyst Snowden’s leaks, “the judges accepted that Miranda’s detention and the seizure of computer material was ‘an indirect interference with press freedom’ but said this was justified by legitimate and ‘very pressing’ interests of national security.”
The Guardian goes on to report that:
“Miranda said he would challenge the decision. ‘I will appeal this ruling, and keep appealing until the end, not because I care about what the British government calls me, but because the values of press freedom that are at stake are too important to do anything but fight until the end,’ he told The Intercept website, where Greenwald is now an editor.”
“The U.K. government expressly argued that the release of the Snowden documents (which the free world calls ‘award-winning journalism’) is actually tantamount to ‘terrorism,’ the same theory now being used by the Egyptian military regime to prosecute Al Jazeera journalists as terrorists. Congratulations to the U.K. government on the illustrious company it is once again keeping. British officials have also repeatedly threatened criminal prosecution of everyone involved in this reporting, including Guardian journalists and editors.”
The judges’ ruling is posted here. It states that the detention and seizure of the hard drive “was a proportionate measure in the circumstances.”