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Greenwald's partner detained for carrying stolen classified docs
by Hijexx at 1:31 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2013

Looks like there's more to this story. Still not sure how this equates to "terrorism" though.

First, as we learned from The Guardian itself, Miranda was not just traveling or on vacation -- he was specifically visiting Laura Poitras, a U.S. film-maker based in Berlin who had also received many of the stolen documents from Snowden:

While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian.

And then, after finding out that Poitras was working with the same stolen, classified materials as Greenwald, we subsequently learned from the New York Times that Poitras is in the practice of using others to transport and hold her sensitive materials for her:

After being detained repeatedly, Poitras began taking steps to protect her data, asking a traveling companion to carry her laptop, leaving her notebooks overseas with friends or in safe deposit boxes. She would wipe her computers and cellphones clean so that there would be nothing for the authorities to see. Or she encrypted her data, so that law enforcement could not read any files they might get hold of. These security preparations could take a day or more before her travels.

So, already the story sounds much different than Greenwald's initial claims. And now we learn, again from the NYT, as now confirmed by Greennwald himself, that Greenwald and Poitras were, in fact, using Miranda as a mule to transport the stolen classified documents:

Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.

RE: Greenwald's partner detained for carrying stolen classified docs
by Decius at 4:16 pm EDT, Aug 20, 2013

The authorities who detained Miranda do not understand why that is outrageous and probably underestimated the consequences of doing it.

The IC simply does not think that there are legitimate questions about either the legality of the programs that Snowden has revealed or the policy framework in which they operate. Furthermore, all of the professional political message men who write opinion pieces in various papers have been smearing Snowden and deflecting the discussion away from the policy questions for months. That is traditionally how issues like this have been managed in Washington and Washington expects those traditional mechanisms to work.

In other words, they very much believe their own bullshit, and they are used to operating in a world where their bullshit was the only kind of bullshit available.

Therefore, the IC does not see any legitimate policy discussion and they don't think that anyone else sees it either, at least not anyone of any consequence. They see traitors trading in stolen property. From their perspective, the publication of this material harms "sources and methods" and therefore aids terrorism. They literally think that people like Snowden are criminally liable for aiding the enemy.

So, in their perspective, Miranda is not far removed from a terrorist. He is a "loony" radical that is engaged in actions that undermine their ability to fight terrorism, which is not so different from actually being a terrorist.

Furthermore, they believe that they have an unlimited power to detain anyone at a border crossing under any circumstance and go through that person's data. If this loony radical who is engaged in actions that enable terrorism is going to appear at a border, they would be remiss not to exercise their powers to detain that radical and get as much out of him as they can. From their perspective, its all part of an appropriate anti-terroism program.

There are four problems with this perspective.

The first is that there are real policy issues that have been raised by the Snowden revelations. This has been repeatedly pointed out by independent policy experts who are largely sympathetic to the interests of the IC, but the IC has their fingers planted firmly in their ears about this. They are simply blind to it, and that lack of awareness of their own fallibility is itself a part of the danger that they pose.

The second is that lots of people know that there are legitimate policy issues that have been raised by this. People are not as reliant as they used to be upon oped columnists in newspapers to tell them what to think. People have access to raw material here and they can make their own minds up. Washington is not used to having to contend with situations where people aren't falling in line with the messaging that they are putting out. They don't expect it.

The third problem is that in a context where the public has a right to know something, classifyin... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

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