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Files seized from reporter's companion were from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

David Miranda, the live-in companion of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who composed a series of articles in the wake of interviews with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was detained at Heathrow Airport for more than nine hours over the weekend. Miranda was ostensibly held under a terrorist withholding act. It's since been learned that the files Miranda was carrying at the time were encrypted messages from Snowden - and they have since been seized by authorities.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Held over the legal limit before a suspect must be charged or released, Miranda was detained for more than nine hours as he changed planes on a journey from Berlin to his home in his native Brazil.

The White House says British officials informed their American counterparts of the decision to detain Miranda -- but did not request his arrest.

Greenwald interviewed Snowden and wrote a series of articles on the activities of the .S. National Security Agency (NSA) earlier this year.

Greenwald told The New York Times that Miranda had been in Berlin to act as a courier to exchange documents related to his research with a filmmaker. He was given different files containing information from Snowden to pass back to Greenwald.

Stored on an encrypted portable computer drive, the files were seized by British security at Heathrow.

Later released and arrived at Rio de Janeiro airport, Miranda described how he was questioned by six different "agents" about his "entire life" "They took my computer, video game, mobile phone, my memory card. Everything," he said.

He was questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allowing officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

Describing it as an "unusual case," David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has asked for an official briefing.

Around two million people pass through U.K. ports every year. About 70,000 people are examined under the same anti-terror law. "Only 40 of those are actually kept for longer than six hours," Anderson said. "So you can see what an unusual case this was, if it's correct that Miranda was held right up to the nine-hour limit."

The National Union of Journalists and the Society of Editors warned that anti-terror laws must not be used to "intimidate" reporters. The Labor Party has since called for an urgent investigation to ensure powers were not being misused.

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