'Classified' material seized from Miranda, UK court told

30th August 2013, Comments 0 comments

Material seized from the partner of a Guardian journalist when he was detained at a British airport under anti-terror laws included information that was "misappropriated" and "classified", the High Court in London heard on Friday.

One file taken from David Miranda -- the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on an explosive series of security services exposes -- included 58,000 "highly classified UK intelligence documents", a senior government intelligence advisor told judges.

Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office ministry, outlined why security services and police needed to "make use" of the material seized when Miranda was detained for nine hours on August 18 at London Heathrow Airport.

Robbins's account was given in a statement released to the court by officials from the Home Office interior ministry.

The Guardian newspaper's editor Alan Rusbridger accused Robbins of making "unsubstantiated and inaccurate" claims.

Rusbridger said in a statement the government's claims that the material was essential to national security were belied by the fact that the intelligence services had done nothing for weeks to retrieve it.

He said that after British agents visited the newspaper's offices in July to destroy copies of the files, The Guardian directed the government towards The New York Times and ProPublica, both of which had material from GCHQ, the British intelligence services' eavesdropping centre.

"Even after the destruction of The Guardian's London copies of the documents on Saturday 20 July, the government has done little -- until the opportunistic detention of David Miranda under laws designed for terrorists, not journalists," Rusbridger said.

Miranda, 28, is challenging his detention and has applied for a judicial review, arguing that it was a misuse of anti-terror legislation and that his human rights were violated.

The case is due to be heard in full at a High Court trial in London in October.

Last week, High Court judges granted a temporary injunction under which police can only examine the seized material for national security purposes.

© 2013 AFP

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