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August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Britain’s Home Office — roughly the equivalent to the U.S. Department of Justice — has defended the decision to detain David Miranda, the partner of Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, who was the first to release documents taken from the NSA by Edward Snowden. “If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that,” a spokesperson for the Home Office said on Tuesday, adding, “Those who oppose this sort of action need to think about what they are condoning.” But Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins today (Wednesday) observed that “There is no conceivable way copies of the Snowden revelations seized this week at Heathrow could aid terrorism,” that what they revealed was that the U.S. was gathering, storing and processing for its own ends electronic communication from around the world.” Meanwhile, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has disclosed that security experts oversaw the destruction of hard drives containing copies of Snowden’s information at the behest of Prime Minister David Cameron. Miranda said that British police also destroyed the hard drives and portable drives he was carrying when he was detained over the weekend at Heathrow airport. When asked on Tuesday whether American authorities would have acted similarly, White House spokesman Josh Earnest replied that it was “very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.” Also on Tuesday, Amnesty International spokeswoman Tawanda Hondora described the British action as “a sinister turn of events.” She added: “This is an example of the government trying to undermine press freedoms. It also seriously undermines the right of the public to know what governments do with their personal and private information.”