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.
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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid