US Official: Greenwald’s Partner Was Detained to Send a Message

Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda

The takeaway from the scandal over the detention by British authorities of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, should be obvious: it was an egregious abuse of power by a desperate and cretinous government. Miranda was detained for 9 hours, the maximum allowed under a British anti-terrorism law. Uncontroversially, as Greenwald himself has laid out, British authorities had no suspicion whatsoever that Miranda was at all involved in terrorism-related activities. His detention was nothing more than intimidation.

In the day or so that has passed since the news of Miranda’s intolerable detention, that it was an act of government intimidation of journalists reporting what government is doing in the shadows was a claim made only by those opposing the government – Greenwald, the Guardian, and other sympathetic journalists and commentators.

But now, as reported by Reuters, a U.S. official has confirmed that intimidation was indeed the purpose of Miranda’s detention:

One U.S. security official told Reuters that one of the main purposes of the British government’s detention and questioning of Miranda was to send a message to recipients of Snowden’s materials, including the Guardian, that the British government was serious about trying to shut down the leaks.

Notably, the White House said they had “a heads up” from the British authorities before Miranda was detained, but – they claim – they did not ask Britain to detain him. Ok. Here’s another obvious point to make: the Obama administration’s complicity in this thuggery is probable, to put it generously.

In Greenwald’s write-up of the incident, he mentioned how “even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.”

It’s an apt comparison. Government is mafia. And by harassing and persecuting dissident journalists and their families, it is proving so more and more everyday.

25 thoughts on “US Official: Greenwald’s Partner Was Detained to Send a Message”

  1. People like Greenwald need all the support he can get from the liberty movement. Statists are trying so hard to take down activists like Adam Kokesh (labeling him a threat and a flight risk last time I checked) and now they're going after people Greenwald cares about it's sickening, we cannot let the statists win.

  2. Actually the Mafia has become an arm of the CIA and has performed many assassinations on its behalf (and of course for money and other profitable benefits).

    1. Or is the CIA an arm of the Mafia? Are they separate entities? Does it matter? The velvet gloves are off because they know that the "people" are tame. As a czar once said, "Complain all you like – but obey."

  3. I still suspect they were after:

    1) information (all the questioning about the NSA reporting – they want to know what Greenwald's got)
    2) data (the stuff they seized – yes all this data was I hope backed up – if not it's too stupid for words – but they did want to know *what* data Greenwald etc. has and now maybe they do a little more)
    3) possibly criminal charges from all that questioning

    But intimidation is one reason, almost innocent sounding if what they were really after was #3 though.

  4. Oh the Obama's administrations *complicity* is tautological 1) they had a heads up 2) the white house likely has the power to stop anything they really want to in it's colonies (see Morales) 3) it wasn't stopped. Just would be more satisfying to had proof the idea originated with them though.

  5. The positive aspect of all this -if there is one- is the fact that these so called democratic, civilized governments are no more than hypocritical regimes that are stumbling before their epic fall.

  6. Time for the Brazilians to detain the British Ambassador and his family and seperate them for 9 hours after questioning them on espionage and terrorism in Brazil. Links to the illegal NSA program, etc…. Even better detain the English National football team before their matches, during the World Cup.That would infuriate some people as well. Time to pass the intimidation around a bit. To send a message.

  7. ‘intimidation of journalists’?

    Wouldn’t a more accurate description be ‘trying to terrorize journalists’?

  8. It seems like every preemptive denial is followed by a leak. When will these guys lean to just tell the truth.

  9. Next thing you know they say we are torturing to send a message. Yes he was innocent but we cut off his head to send a message. We are a democracy but we behave like an authoritarian regime to send a message to dictators to behave even worse so that we can look better;)

  10. They certainly did send a message, loud and clear – this is the real face behind the smiles and glowing speeches, the spin and declarations about democracy..
    The same message emanates from all authoritarian regimes – the mask is crumbling
    It is the message of the master to the slave.
    Obey or be crushed. Might is right.

  11. This isn't as clear cut as Justin makes it (though I agree w/ his take and the takes of most of the commenters here). Greenwald copped to the fact that Miranda was in possession of materials from Snowden and that possession of these materials could be construed as having the ability to harm the (illegal) systems these governments have in place. This doesn't change Greenwald's ultimately successful defense: I am practicing journalism. But the bottom line is every deviation from normal gives the side of the status quo the ability to whittle down Greenwald and Snowden's relatively strong position as honest brokers rather than self-interested types (again – I don't view them that way, but the American public is the test bed here, and the jury is still out/divided on what they think.)

    If Greenwald is in fact using Miranda to squire extremely important documents from one side of the world to the other…that seems to me to be a bit of a bad managerial move. Someone un-related to him would be the wiser choice to do that so (if they can be trusted), so as to not draw attention their enterprise.

  12. Regardless of what you think about the Snowden affair, (whether one thinks it was a limited hangout operation or not), Greenwald is right about this. Targeting family members and other innocents to "send a message" is just reprehensible. But then again, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Bagram AFB in Afghanistan, drone strikes, wars based on lies, sanctions that kill millions, with this laundry list of war crimes, detaining someone without cause seems rather mild.

  13. We must not lose sight of the fact that the NSA is conducting an unconstitutional surveillance program; so exposing it to the public is entirely appropriate. In fact, it is Mr. Snowden's duty as an Americaqn citizen to disclose it. He knew from previous attempts by others who had left the NSA that going through the normal channels wouldn't work. As far as the detainment of Mr. Miranda goes, it don't see Mr. Greenwald using his partner to convey documents as inappropriate, but I do think it may have been ill-advised. Mr. Greenwald may have wrongly believed that Mr. Miranda would be okay because he wasn't actually entering Britain (he was at the transit center at Heathrow Airport) on his way back to Brazil, but he probably should have known better. I don't know what is left to reveal in the files, but both the US and British governments must think it's important because they appear willing to do almost anything to stop further disclosures based on their actions over the past two months.

  14. To send a message? Not quite the message they think. They are basically saying that they are fascist thugs who will stop at nothing to get their way.

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