White House Had "Heads Up" About Detention of Greenwald's Partner

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 19 2013 2:52 PM

White House Had "Heads Up" About Detention of Greenwald's Partner, but Says It Didn't Order It

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Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Glenn Greenwald speaking at the University of Arizona in October, 2012

The White House on Monday said that it played no role in Britain's decision to detain Glenn Greenwald's partner at London's Heathrow Airport this past weekend under a controversial anti-terrorism law. The White House did, however, admit that it had been made aware that the detention was likely going to happen.

"This is a decision that they made on their own and not at the request of the United States," White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday afternoon after being asked about Sunday's nearly nine-hour detainment of David Miranda during his return trip to Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has worked closely with Edward Snowden to expose the scope of the NSA's secret surveillance programs.

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Earnest admitted that "there was a heads up that was provided by the British government," and there was "indication that this was likely to occur." He refused, however, to say whether American officials tried to dissuade their British counterparts from stopping Miranda under the British terrorism law that applies at airports and ports. Earnest said that he could not "provide any insight" into whether the United States would be briefed on any information gleaned during Miranda's detention or from the electronic equipment that was confiscated by British authorities.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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