United Kingdom authorities are saying that they were quite surprised with what they discovered when they detained the partner of a prominent journalist earlier this month at Heathrow Airport. David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, allegedly was carrying extremely sensitive national security data when he was stopped at the airport. Greenwald worked on a number of stories about Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency leaks.
Miranda had material containing “personal information that would allow British intelligence staff to be identified,” The Blaze reported.
Oliver Robbins, the deputy national security adviser for intelligence in the United Kingdom, submitted a report about the incident.
“The information that has been accessed consists entirely of misappropriated material in the form of approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents," he said. "I can confirm that the disclosure of this information would cause harm to U.K. national security.”
Much of the material is encrypted. However, among the unencrypted documents ... was a piece of paper that included the password for decrypting one of the encrypted files on the external hard drive recovered from the claimant. The fact that ... the claimant was carrying on his person a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files ... is a sign of very poor information security practice.
Even if the claimant were to undertake not to publish or disclose the information that has been detained, the claimant and his associates have demonstrated very poor judgment in their security arrangements with respect to the material rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-State actors, a real possibility.
The U.K. government is now operating under the assumption that Snowden’s data is in the hands of foreign governments, including Hong Kong and Russia.
Miranda has said he will take legal action against the government. He claims his detention was a “misuse” of Schedule 7 of the U.K. anti-terror law.