Feeds

Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Miranda threatened with jail after being seized on apparent courier mission

3 Big data security analytics techniques

David Miranda, the partner of a journalist at the heart of the Edward Snowden NSA surveillance firestorm, handed over to British intelligence the crypto passwords for digital files they seized from him when he stopped over in the UK en route from a meeting with a US film-maker who was also involved with the Snowden disclosures. It has also emerged that the US government was aware that the British intelligence services intended to target Miranda during his journey.

"There was a heads up that was provided by the British government," said Josh Earnest, the principal deputy White House press secretary, at a press conference

"This is something we had an indication that was likely to occur," he said, "but it's not something that we requested, it was something that was done by British law enforcement officials. The United States was not involved in that decision or in that action."

Earnest didn't say if the US had received copies of the information taken from Miranda during his questioning, and when asked to rule out any receipt, Earnest replied, "I'm not in a position to do that right now."

Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has been instrumental in revealing information on highly secret, massive internet surveillance by the United States' NSA and Britain's GCHQ electronic-intelligence agencies. Miranda was stopped and interrogated by British police during a stopover at Heathrow airport while flying from Germany back to his and Greenwald's home in Brazil at the Guardian's expense. He had travelled to Germany to meet with Laura Poitras, an American film-maker also involved in the Snowden leaks.

The Brazilian government has torn a strip off the UK government over the interrogation, calling the detention of one of its citizens "without justification" in a statement, and saying it does not want a repeat of the incident.

The detention has caused a political storm in the UK, with British MP Tom Watson saying it was a clear attempt at intimidation and an attack on journalism. The Prime Minister's office has declined to answer questions on the detention, saying it was an "operational matter" for the police.

David Anderson, the UK's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said that the case was "unusual," since of the 60,000 to 70,000 people stopped under Schedule 7 each year, only 40 have been held for more than six hours. Anderson also said that he had requested a ministerial briefing on the case. British police say that the detention of Miranda was "legally and procedurally sound."

David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda (right) reunited in Rio

In his first interview since arriving safely in Brazil, Miranda said that he was forced to hand over the passwords for his laptop and mobile phone after British police officers threatened him with prison if he refused. Also taken were an external hard drive, two memory sticks, a games console, and two newly-bought watches and phones which were still in their packaging.

"They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn't co-operate," said Miranda. "They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK ... It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong."

Miranda said that as soon as his plane landed at Heathrow, passengers were asked to display their passports, and that the second he stepped off the aircraft he was detained by four officers. He was then held for nine hours, the maximum allowed under Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act.

Despite this, Miranda said he wasn't asked about terrorism by his British interrogators. Instead, he was extensively quizzed about his visit to Berlin-based filmmaker Laura Poitras, the activities of his partner Glenn Greenwald, and if there were plans to publish more papers from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"They even asked me about the protests in Brazil, why people were unhappy, and who I knew in the government," said Miranda.

After nine hours of questioning, Miranda was informed that he was free to leave for a connecting flight to his home in Brazil. Since he'd missed his connection, and another flight wasn't scheduled for a while, the police released him onto British soil.

"It was ridiculous," he said. "First they treat me like a terrorist suspect. Then they are ready to release me in the UK." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.