Snowden reporter denounces British 'intimidation'

19th August 2013, Comments 0 comments

An American reporter who published intelligence leaks by Edward Snowden accused Britain of "intimidation" Monday after his Brazilian partner was held for nine hours at Heathrow airport.

"Now I will be more radical in my reporting," Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with Britain's Guardian newspaper, told reporters in Brazil, where he lives with his partner David Miranda.

"This was a clear attempt at intimidation."

Greenwald was among the first reporters to publicize documents leaked by Snowden -- a former IT contractor at the US National Security Agency -- which detailed vast secret spying programs.

Miranda was held for nine hours and questioned by British authorities as he passed through Heathrow on his way back to Rio de Janeiro from a trip to Berlin.

"There were six different agents, coming and going, talking to me. They asked me questions about my whole life, about everything, and they took my computer, my games, my memory cards, everything," Miranda said.

Greenwald, who has said he has more information about Western surveillance programs, vowed to train his sights on London.

"I have a lot of documents about England's espionage system. Now my focus is going to be on them also. I think they are going to regret what they did," he said, speaking in Portuguese.

Police detained Miranda on the basis of a controversial British counter-terrorism law that allows authorities to hold a suspect for up to nine hours without showing probable cause.

The suspect must cooperate and answer questions or face criminal charges, and a lawyer may or may not be present.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Miranda's detention was "unjustifiable" and that he would raise the matter with his British counterpart.

Amnesty International has also slammed the detention, calling it "unlawful and inexcusable."

Miranda "was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be abused for petty, vindictive reasons," it said in a statement.

Britain's interior ministry has not commented on the incident, saying it is a police matter.

Based on Snowden's leaks, Greenwald wrote about vast US phone and Internet spying programs for the Guardian, sparking worldwide controversy and prompting debate in the United States over the trade-offs between privacy and security.

US officials have defended the programs, saying they are entirely lawful and have helped to foil dozens of terrorist attacks.

Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia after fleeing to Moscow, faces US charges of espionage over the disclosures.

Brazil expressed anger over the spying programs after the O Globo newspaper, also citing Snowden's documents, wrote about secret surveillance operations focused on Latin America.

© 2013 AFP

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