British govt. endorses police decision to investigate Guardian journalistís partner
Iran Press TV
Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:19PM GMT
The UK government has upheld the police’s decision to arrest a journalist’s partner allegedly linked with U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden at Heathrow Airport.
Landed in London on his way from Germany to Brazil, David Miranda, partner of Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald, was captured at the airport and investigated for nine hours by Scotland Yard authorities under the so-called Terrorism Act.
The police was slammed for acting disproportionately with some people accusing police officers of seeking to intimidate journalists.
"The government and the police have a duty to protect the public and our national security”, said the Home Office, which was trying to endorse the decision.
"If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that.
"Those who oppose this sort of action need to think about what they are condoning. This is an ongoing police inquiry so we will not comment on the specifics", it said in a statement.
Miranda had been questioned about his "entire life" by six agents who took his "computer, video game, mobile phone, my memory card - everything", while being held under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Greenwald - the reporter who interviewed American whistleblower Edward Snowden - called his partner's detention a "profound attack on press freedoms and the news-gathering process".
"To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA (US National Security Agency) and GCHQ," he said.
Peace campaigners and activists warned police against misusing the Terrorism Act 2000, alleging that the legislation was being deployed to intimidate journalists.
In the wake of the controversy, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger exposed the fact that the UK government ordered its undercover agents to come to the paper’s office and annihilate each and every hard drives the newspaper had gathered about the recent spying scandal.
Rusbridger said in a comment piece in the paper that "shadowy Whitehall figures" have met him several times and urged him to destroy all material relating to Snowden.
Miranda was stopped at 8:05 Sunday morning, local time, and informed that he was to be questioned under Schedule 7 of Britain’s Terrorism Act 2000.
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