UK court: Documents seized from David Miranda could have identified British intelligence officers


Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda told reporters that six British agents questioned him continuously about all aspects of his life during his detention in a room at Heathrow airport.


Steve Parsons

Some of the material seized from David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who published national security secrets leaked by Edward Snowden, could have endangered the lives of British intelligence officers and their families if it had fallen into the wrong hands, the UK High Court heard Friday.

Encrypted files on a hard drive taken from Miranda when he was detained at Heathrow Airport for nine hours earlier this month contained about 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents, Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office, told a hearing via a written statement.

Robbins said the decryption password for the files had been written on a piece of paper. Some of those documents contained “personal information that would allow British intelligence staff to be identified.” 

Other information on the hard drive -- of which only a portion had been accessed so far -- was "highly likely to describe techniques which have been crucial in life-saving counter-terrorist operations, and other intelligence activities vital to UK national security", the compromise of which "would do serious damage to UK national security and ultimately risk lives," Robbins said.

Friday’s hearing was to decide whether to extend a temporary injunction allowing police to examine the material seized from Miranda for national security purposes.

But, following an agreement between Miranda's lawyers and other parties, the court ruled to widen police powers to investigate “whether crimes related to terrorism and breaches of the Official Secrets Act” had been committed.

More from GlobalPost: Snowden journalist to publish UK secrets after Britain detains partner 

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