The British government’s decision to detain Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for nine solid hours under the Terrorism Act has been roundly condemned, with Greenwald dubbing it a “failed attempt at intimidation.” It was also a bizarre decision that is sparking a significant backlash.
British Home Affairs Committee chair Keith Vaz is demanding an explanation to the “extraordinary” incident, and says the pretext under which the Terrorism Act would even apply “needs to be clarified, and clarified quickly.”
David Anderson, Britain’s anti-terror watchdog, is also following through with a demand for an investigation, as is the nation’s Shadow Home Secretary, who suggested that the law had been misused and warned that public support for the Terrorism Act would be in serious jeopardy if they’re using it for random detentions like this.
Indeed, this sort of petty abuse of the law, seemingly just for spite, has sparked outrage around the world, with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry demanding an explanation not only from Britain but from the US, insisting that Britain doesn’t do these sorts of things without an American imprimatur.
The White House insists they had no specific role in Miranda’s capture, but also seemed fine with it, saying that they were given a “heads up” by Britain and insisting that the matter is classified. They declined to criticize Britain, which puts them in a pretty small group that doesn’t see this as criticism-worthy.