WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials did not ask the British government to question the partner of the journalist who first reported secrets leaked by fugitive U.S. intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden, the White House said on Monday.
British authorities did, however, give their U.S. counterparts a “heads up” before detaining the partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, Brazilian David Miranda, the White House said.
“This was a decision that they made on their own, and not at the request of the United States,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. “This is something that they did independent of our direction,” he added.
Miranda, 28, was detained on Sunday at London’s Heathrow Airport where he was in transit on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. He was questioned for 9 hours under provisions of British anti-terrorism law but was later released without charge.
Earnest did not provide information about how far in advance British officials notified the United States that Miranda would be detained or how they notified U.S. authorities. He also did not provide details on whether U.S. officials had obtained any material from personal items confiscated from Miranda.
Greenwald has said British authorities seized his partner’s laptop, cellphone and USB sticks.
Greenwald writes for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and has published information on U.S. surveillance programs revealed by Snowden, who faces criminal charges in the United States.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)