The row over the detention and questioning of the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald escalated today as he threatened to publish details of UK security operations.
David Miranda, Greenwald’s Brazilian partner, was stopped at Healthrow Airport on Sunday under Britain’s anti-terror laws.
According to The Guardian, Miranda was held for nine hours – the maximum allowed under law before a suspect must be released or arrested – before being released without charge.
He reportedly had his possessions, including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games console, confiscated.
Miranda had been travelling from Berlin, where he had been working on a film based on information supplied by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the US National Security Agency.
Greenwald, who first published revelations on the NSA’s surveillance techniques after leaks from Snowden in June, responded to the arrest by apparently threatening to disclose some of the UK’s spy secrets.
He told Reuters in Brazil that his reporting would become “”more aggressive” following the incident.
Speaking in Portuguese, he said: “I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did.
"They wanted to intimidate our journalism, to show that they have power and will not remain passive but will attack us more intensely if we continue publishing their secrets.”
Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists has called the holding of Miranda by British authorities “a gross misuse of the law”.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said:
The shocking detention of David Miranda for the crime of being the partner of a respected investigative journalist points to the growing abuse of so-called anti-terror laws in the UK. His detention and treatment was a gross misuse of the law and clearly linked to the work of his partner Glenn Greenwald, who revealed the extent of mass surveillance and wholesale interception of internet traffic by the US security services and its collusion with GCQH. It's rather ironic that the police's response, in turn, is to put the partner of a journalist under surveillance and detain him in this way.
"This is not an isolated problem. The NUJ believes that journalists are coming under more scrutiny and surveillance, being stopped at borders and their work interfered with, simply for doing their job. We are currently collating examples of such unacceptable interference across our membership. The treatment meted out to David Miranda is wholly unacceptable and it is time the use, or rather misuse, of terrorism legislation as a way of targeting individuals was properly and independently reviewed.”
Earlier, Labour called on the Government to investigate whether anti-terror laws enshrined in the Terrorism Act 2000, had been misused.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Any suggestion that terror powers are being misused must be investigated and clarified urgently," she said. "The public support for these powers must not be endangered by a perception of misuse."
Speaking yesterday, a Guardian spokesperson said: "We were dismayed that the partner of a Guardian journalist who has been writing about the security services was detained for nearly nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport.
"We are urgently seeking clarification from the British authorities."
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "At 08:05 on Sunday 18 August 2013 a 28-year-old man was detained at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
"He was not arrested.
"He was subsequently released at 17:00."