Police right to detain David Miranda, says Louise Mensch
Brazilian takes legal action against Home Office over detention, but former MP backs decision to hold him
DAVID MIRANDA has launched legal action against the Home Office over his nine-hour detention at Heathrow airport. But several commentators, including the former Tory MP Louise Mensch, have backed the police decision to hold him under anti-terror laws.
The editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, has confirmed that the 28-year-old Miranda has launched a civil action over the affair. In particular, the Brazilian's lawyers will try to bar authorities from examining a computer and memory sticks they confiscated from him at the airport on Sunday.
Miranda’s detention has "rightly caused international dismay" says Rusbridger, because it "feeds into a perception that the US and UK governments – while claiming to welcome the debate around state surveillance started by [Edward] Snowden – are also intent on stemming the tide of leaks and on pursuing the whistleblower with a vengeance."
Miranda has described his detention as a "total abuse of power", a description endorsed by his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald (pictured above left with Miranda).
Greenwald has vowed to respond to what he described as "intimidation" by publishing more classified documents leaked by Snowden, particularly those relating to British intelligence agencies.
While most media reports have been sympathetic to Miranda's plight, several commentators said police were right to detain him.
Former Tory MP Louise Mensch told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the detention was appropriate because Greenwald had confirmed that his partner was carrying "classified, stolen intelligence data encrypted on hard drives".
"He [Miranda] wasn't stopped because he was somebody's husband and he wasn’t stopped because he was a journalist," said Mensch. "He was stopped on suspicion of abetting the dissemination of information that could threaten British and American agents – and rightly so."
Daily Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges said it was clear Miranda is't a journalist. He was, in fact, "just some bloke carrying something through customs for a mate". In Miranda's case the consignment was "information that could potentially destroy the entire security apparatus of the Western world".
"What do we honestly expect the UK authorities to do?" asks Hodges. "Give him [Miranda] a sly wink and say 'Off you go son, you have a nice trip'?" ·