David Miranda Describes Heathrow Detention

The Guardian has an interview with David Miranda describing his 9 hour detention.

The Guardian editor describes how he was pressured to destroy hard drives.

[O]ne of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

The White House says it didn't request Miranda's detention, but the UK gave it a heads-up -- in other words, the U.S. knew of the detention plan before it occurred. [More...]

"This was a decision that they made on their own, and not at the request of the United States," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. "This is something that they did independent of our direction," he added.

In a Reuters interview, Glenn Greenwald says he will continue to publish Snowden's leaked documents.

The Guardian writes in an editorial today:

Mr Miranda's detention was part security service fishing trip, part police harassment exercise and part government warning signal to journalists and whistleblowers. It was an attempt to intimidate journalism in one of the zoned-off jurisdictional spaces where such a thing can happen without legal redress. It was done simply because it could be done – and doubtless because the Americans wanted it done – and for no other reasons.

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    The Guardian has been forced to destroy (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:57:51 PM EST
    Computers that had Snowden files on them.  It's starting to really heat up, at least in the UK.


    "I explained..." (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Edger on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:01:51 PM EST
    ...to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?

    The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred - with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

    Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London. The seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald's work.

    -- Alan Rusbridger, Editor in Chief of Guardian Newspapers


    I have been busy and will remain so (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:05:59 PM EST
    I did read a piece about Wikileaks uploading a file and requesting it be mirrored that was titled insurance.  It is encrypted, and a key may be released to unlock it.  Any other recent info on that that you have come across?

    You know as much as I know about it. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:19:55 PM EST
    Although I did read that is a 400 gigabyte file.

    I imagine when Obama looks out the oval office window these days, he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Shining brightly from the front of the freight train bearing down on him?


    Who is advising our President? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:33:15 PM EST
    Some are arguing that our President isn't the NSA, but the NSA is a branch of the military and he commands them.  Congress enjoys the power of the purse mostly.

    It doesn't make any sense to me as to why he would choose intimidation over a transparent reassuring confidence building method of oversight.  He has a penchant for the Larry Summers type adviser though sadly, so who is the Larry Summers of intel collection?  This is what I ask myself right now.

    I think our President is being very poorly advised and is taking it.


    IMO, because Obama... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Dadler on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:56:28 PM EST
    ...lacks anything resembling a real imagination.

    To reject the NSA's way requires imagination, it requires a genuine rejection of the status quo and a completely new way of doing things. He, nor any admins really, ever do this. Even his healthcare plane is, at its core, a complete affirmation of a broken system.

    We require a President with a personality that, unfortunately, is the kind of personality who would never in the first place want the kind of power over people's lives that the office comes with. It's sort of a conflict. That's why artists and writers and real creative people lead OTHER nations, not the "greatest nation on each."


    I think our President has a fine (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:07:44 PM EST
    fully functioning real imagination.  I have seen him shaken once, months back...cannot remember the exact issue - heck it could have been this one in its early stages.  He gave a speech though where he seemed genuinely concerned that his grasp of Constitutionality was being questioned by other legal minds.  I think what is going on on that hill over all this is more complex than just saying our President lacks a real imagination.  And because I believe there is nothing wrong with our President's imagination, everything that is occurring condemns his choices and actions even more.  Just my opine

    The Vonnegut Theory... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:49:44 AM EST
    "There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president."

    One more on the positive tip...

    "No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful."

    Our president has surrounded himself (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Anne on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 09:56:44 PM EST
    with advisors he's comfortable with, whom he chose, so he's getting the advice he wants.

    He owns this.


    Agreed. The advisors (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:06:48 AM EST
    are advising in a manner in which the president wants to be advised.  The advisors appear to be bullies to everyone other than the president to whom they are obsequious. In turn, the president is the spokesman and defender of the advice.

     However, all of them  have lost their way on this--all sense of proportionality and good judgment have been casualties of the petulant underpinnings to their strategy.  For supposedly smart people, they are pretty dumb in the way they are handling their concerns.  


    I agree Anne (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:03:10 PM EST
    It usually takes a team effort to grow this sort of abuse of power trip though.  I want to know the team behind this because the same bureaucrats show up over and over again in various administrations.  Since we have the intertubes now, I like building accurate histories.

    John Brennan. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:11:19 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:15:23 PM EST
    who else?  What is Rice's take on all this?  Someone had a post up recently of security advisers leaving.  I think it was sj.  I'm googling around trying to find something on it but nothing yet, loathe to go through all of our comments here but might have to.  Maybe the poster can save me?

    The President's Intelligence Advisory Board (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:00:10 PM EST
    was gutted, apparently just before Snowden's first leak hit the fan.

    "They kicked me off," said former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN). "I was on it a long time under Bush and under Obama. They wanted to make some changes."


    Thank you Mr Natural (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 04:12:17 PM EST
    I was looking for this.

    Which "Rice"? (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:17:36 PM EST
    Susan (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:18:31 PM EST
    I now see that Cass Sunstein has (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:38:01 PM EST
    Come out supporting Larry Summers, and not happy at those of us who want nothing to do with Summers running the Fed.  We don't know Larry like Cass does.

    If Cass Sunstein is weighing in on Larry Summers right now, what else has he been weighing in on while this administration has been in NSA turmoil?

    What a pair, Summers and Sunstein...ugh


    And Ms. Powers (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:53:17 PM EST
    I am not very familiar with her (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:58:10 PM EST
    And not much time to read up right now.  But the world will turn, and I'm hardly the only person that cares about all this.

    In the end I'd like to read some books on all this similar to what was available on the horrors of the economic team after the crash.  That is if our rights and journalism survives all this.


    Pretty freaky (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:13:55 PM EST
    Seriously saw mention of Sunstein's book Nudge, I thought it was new but it isn't.  But I click on the first prominent article and up pops a photo of the President, Sunstein, and Power.  Is Power close to Sunstein?

    I think it might be fair to say (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:27:17 PM EST
    that Power is close to Sunstein.

    On July 4, 2008, Power married law professor Cass Sunstein, whom she met while working on the Obama campaign.[13] They were married in the Church of Mary Immaculate, near Waterville on the Ring of Kerry in Power's native Ireland. On April 24, 2009, she gave birth to their first child, Declan Power Sunstein.[14] On June 1, 2012, she gave birth to their second child, a daughter, Rían Power Sunstein.


    I just read that and cracked up (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:38:52 PM EST
    Had no idea.  That certainly colors my perception of her forever.  I knew nothing about her husband until I started reading BTD.  Then spent a weekend just reading up on him and decided that I didn't like the guy at all.  Not just his policies he argues for either, I just did not like the guy because the guy has no real respect for me as a person. He reminds me so much of Larry Summers in that respect.

    I read some bloggers who were very concerned about Samantha Power wanting good things for Egypt and arguing for our involvement.  I felt like I was missing something that they knew and I didn't.  This is probably what it was.


    It was originally (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 01:11:54 AM EST
    jbindc. Her comment is here, and the link to the story is here.

    And by the way (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 01:15:01 AM EST
    I'm perfectly happy referring to him as the President. No pronouns necessary. :)

    He (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 05:29:41 AM EST
    hears nothing, he sees nothing. And when he says something, he says nothing.

    The Eyes (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:38:28 AM EST
    An (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:28:01 PM EST
    amazing clip.

    I can't get over the reality of Charlie.
    Even when he tells Bergen that his lips are moving - it doesn't change anything.


    Why Does Our Government Hate Our Freedoms? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by john horse on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:02:21 PM EST
    Our government is just trying to protect us from the whistleblowers.  Oh, sorry, I meant to say the terrorists.  We,the American people must be kept in the dark about what our government is doing in our name, or else the terrorists will win. (sarcasm alert)

    The detention of Miranda is but another attack on a free press and those that insist that our government abide by the law and be accountable to the people.  Increasingly, it seems that the biggest threat to our freedoms is our own government.

    So, I just want to know one thing.  Why does our government hate our freedoms?

    Why? A week or so ago (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:25:51 PM EST
    one commenter on a post at Brad Delong's site said something that I read as rather perceptive...

    Obama got his European cronies to force the humiliating landing of a plane containing a South American head of state, displaying the most damaging kind of throwback ugly gringo arrogance. And now he has cancelled a summit with Russia over this business. To me, this smacks of an administration that is becoming unhinged. They are putting long term diplomatic priorities and the nation's reputation at risk over this one guy and his hard drive?

    And why is it they are becoming unhinged? Because Snowden has revealed damaging national security secrets, and knowledge of vital programs that people didn't already know existed in some form? Maybe, but I doubt it. My suspicion is that they are becoming unhinged because the national security and homeland security apparatus of the United States is now crawling with compromised individuals who have spent a decade committing all kinds of crimes, and either lying about them outright, or relying on the many walls and layers of officialdom, bureaucratic flak and state secrecy to keep these deeds from becoming public. They are all worried that people have had enough with police departments armed to the teeth like armies, an oppressive GWOT that never ends, and a state that watches everything ordinary people do while letting criminal predator plutocrats skate free and hold multi-million fundraising dinners for our bought off politicians. They are worried that the dikes holding in the ten year reign of ugliness are about to rupture, and so they are putting enormous pressure on Obama to hold back the tide and save their rears.

    I was just reading up on Cass Sunstein's (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:09:35 PM EST
    New book Nudge.  Shouldn't have done that.  I am scaring myself now.  He wants society to wash over us and make us into the desired things.  He wants policy to create us and not us create our policies.  Scary creepy dude.

    Updates from The Guardian: (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:35:26 AM EST

    Almost 24 hours after the White House said the Americans were given a "heads up" about the detention of David Miranda, Number 10 has now said that it was kept informed too. The Press Association has just snapped this.

       A Downing Street source said Number 10 was "kept abreast of the operation " to detain David Miranda, but denied any political involvement in the decision, adding: "The Government does not direct police investigations."

    Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian's editor, has been interviewed on the BBC, and at the link referenced above, you can find links to that interview as well as a synopsis of key points from it.

    * Rusbridger criticised schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, the law that allowed Miranda to be held for up to nine hours at Heathrow without the usual legal safeguards.

       What you instead have is a kind of vacuum that is not quite Britain, not quite not Britain, in which this Act enables people to interrogate people for up to nine hours and seize all their belongings with no checks and balances. That does not seem a very good way to treat people who are engaged in journalism. There has been a worldwide outcry at the fact that Britain was behaving in that way ...

        If they were to arrest David Miranda in the Heathrow car park, they would have to use bits of the law that have checks and balances that are there to protect journalistic material, amongst other things. But by doing it in a transit lounge they are operating in a kind of stateless way where they can interrogate somebody for nine hours, seize whatever they want, under rules that are about terrorism. And once you start conflating terrorism and journalism as a country, I think you are in some trouble.

    * He said that Miranda had "journalistic material" with him when he was detained. But he said that, even under the Official Secrets Act, the police would not have been allowed to arrest Miranda because of what he was carrying. He also said that there was no evidence to suggest that a terrorist group could have got hold of the material Miranda had. (This was the argument used by the Home Office to justify Miranda's detention - see 12pm.)

    Lots of good info and regular updates worth tracking to see how this all develops.

    lol; I subscribe to the Guardian. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 12:08:19 PM EST
    I feel like a proud parent.

    Great great line... (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by kdog on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:08:41 AM EST
    in The Guardian editorial...

    "It was done simply because it could be done..."

    Truer words never spoken...which is why it is so critical for free people to limit their government's power.  

    In short, we done f*cked up, the UK done f*cked up, most everybody in the world done f*cked up.

    Groklaw shuts down. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:23:24 AM EST
    Tech legal site Groklaw shuts down

    "There is now no shield from forced exposure," Jones said in final blog post Tuesday. Groklaw depended on collaboration over e-mail, "and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate."

    I Call Bull Pucky on the Obama Administration (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by msaroff on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:55:23 PM EST
    The British are our poodles, particularly the intel folks.

    When the British called, they were almost certainly not notifying the White House, they were asking for permission, which they got.

    Worse than Nixon.

    Still somewhat confused about this (none / 0) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:18:57 AM EST
    In another thread, I stated that "I have never heard Greenwald refer to David as anything other than his partner. Also, FWIW none of the biographical data that I have read on Greenwald shows that he was married at such and such date etc."

    In the Guardian interview with David Miranda linked above, David is quoted as saying:

    "I knew my country would protect me, and I believe in my husband and knew that he would do anything to help me."

    I would think that somewhere there would be information about when and where Greenwald was married but I sure can't find that information.


    Maybe they are common law married? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:23:33 AM EST
    Doesn't common law (none / 0) (#38)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:19:59 PM EST
    mean that you live and proclaim as married?

    Two people can share an apartment for years without any attachment, its the public face you put on the relationship. I don't know where "partner" falls in the range of married to going steady.