News / Europe

British Police: Seized Snowden-Linked Data Could Put Lives at Risk

U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald (C) looks on as his partner David Miranda (R) talks with the media after arriving at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport, Brazil, Aug. 19, 2013.
U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald (C) looks on as his partner David Miranda (R) talks with the media after arriving at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport, Brazil, Aug. 19, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— British police said on Thursday that documents seized from the partner of a journalist, who has led coverage of Edward Snowden's leaks about U.S. and British electronic spying, were “highly sensitive” and, if disclosed, could put lives at risk.

Counter-terrorism detectives said they had begun a criminal investigation following a preliminary examination of the material taken from David Miranda, partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, after he was held for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday.

The inquiry is the latest twist in a surveillance scandal that has pitted U.S. President Barack Obama against the Kremlin and prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron's advisers to demand the return of secrets from the Guardian newspaper.

Miranda, a Brazilian citizen who had been ferrying documents between Greenwald and a Berlin-based journalist contact of Snowden's, was held at Heathrow under anti-terrorism powers, before being released without charge minus his laptop, phone, a computer hard drive and memory sticks.

“Initial examination of material seized has identified highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which could put lives at risk,” London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer for David Miranda, makes a statement to members of the media outside the High Court in London, Aug. 22, 2013.Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer for David Miranda, makes a statement to members of the media outside the High Court in London, Aug. 22, 2013.
x
Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer for David Miranda, makes a statement to members of the media outside the High Court in London, Aug. 22, 2013.
Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer for David Miranda, makes a statement to members of the media outside the High Court in London, Aug. 22, 2013.
The police refused to give any further details about the criminal inquiry, and Miranda's lawyer, Gwendolen Morgan, told reporters she knew very little about the investigation or what the basis for it was.

Earlier, Miranda's lawyers went to London's High Court to try to prevent British authorities from looking at the tens of thousands of documents on the seized devices.

However, two judges gave the authorities until Aug. 30 to sift through the documents on the proviso it was for the defense of national security and to investigate any possible links to terrorism.

“We welcome the decision of the court which allows our examination of the material - containing thousands of classified intelligence documents - to continue in order to protect life and national security,” the police statement said.

Greenwald, who is based in Brazil and writes for Britain's Guardian, has published articles based on documents leaked by Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who faces criminal charges in the United States.

Media freedom

British security officials say the Snowden leaks, which showed the scale of U.S. and British eavesdropping on everything from phone calls and emails to internet and social media use, have undermined national security and could put lives at risk.

But the detention of Miranda and British government pressure on the Guardian have dragged Cameron into an international row over media freedom and the powers of the security services.

Germany has criticized Britain while Russia, which has granted Snowden temporary asylum, accused the British government of double standards over press freedom.

The Brazilian government, which has complained about the “unjustified” detention of Miranda, asked Britain to return the electronic equipment seized from him.

It was unclear what documents Miranda was carrying or what secrets could have forced Britain to act in such a way. Greenwald has vowed that Britain would come to regret its actions which he said were an attempt to intimidate him.

David Anderson, a lawyer who acts as Britain's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May on Thursday to say he would investigate whether the powers under which police detained Miranda were used lawfully.

Miranda's lawyers have also started legal action to ask judges to rule that his detention was illegal and his lawyer Morgan said they might seek to appeal the High Court's decision allowing the police to continue to inspect his material.

The Guardian said on Thursday that Miranda had been involved in legitimate journalistic activity. “We ... have grave concerns that today's judgment allows police to examine without any legal oversight journalistic material seized from David Miranda,” it said in a statement on its website.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid