By Jack Whibley, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – David Miranda, Brazilian citizen and partner of Glenn Greenwald, Rio-based journalist known for his role in disclosing former U.S. subcontractor Edward Snowden’s NSA spying allegations, was detained while passing through London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
David Miranda, left, with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who has written extensively about NSA surveillance, photo internet recreation.

The UK Government has so far refused to comment on the detention, saying it is an operational matter for the Metropolitan Police of London. Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the UK’s controversial Terrorism Act 2000.

He was held by officers for nine hours – the maximum allowed under Schedule 7 – before he was released without charge. According to Miranda, the UK authorities took his phone, a computer, a camera and a flash drive.

Miranda was in transit through Heathrow on his way to Rio from Berlin, where he had been working with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has been working with Greenwald on a documentary about the NSA files.

The U.S. said that the decision was made by UK officials alone. Miranda was traveling home to Rio from Berlin when he was detained. Miranda and Greenwald live and work in Rio together.

Responding to questions from reporters on Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest disclosed the U.S. knew of likely action. “We had an indication that it was likely that the arrest would occur, but it was not something we asked for. This was a decision that they made themselves.”

Schedule 7, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals without prior authorization or reasonable suspicion. Those stopped under that law have no automatic right to legal advice. It is a criminal offense to refuse to cooperate with questioning, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence.

The detention has caused unease across the political spectrum in the UK and elsewhere, with many politicians, lawyers and commentators speaking out about the unusual nature of the detention and the length of time that Miranda was held.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


  1. So what is the specific argument? He was stopped, questioned and released without charge under schedule 7, 63,000 others have also been subjected to the same, why should the British government comment specifically on his detention or indeed the other 63,000 cases, border security is border security everywhere in the world!

  2. Surely, many governments would be highly interested in any known associates of the ex CIA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden. I do not know whether Mr Miranda was indeed carrying or in possession of documents/information which had been stolen by Edward Snowden. But it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a flight taken by Mr Miranda to Berlin (paid for by the Guardian Newspaper)would be, shall we say, montitored by security agents from many countries. However, there is an issue in respect to the treatment that Mr Miranda received whilst in custody in Heathrow. The UK authorities are claiming that a legal representative was present – who know? The real question is where do we stand in regards to our satety and protection from potential terrorism on the one hand, and our belief in the freedom of the press and the individual. Not an easy one …


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