The Economist: When David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist, was stopped and questioned by the police for nine hours in Heathrow airport last month, tempers in his home country flared. The law invoked by his detainers does not require them to give grounds for their actions. But then it is only supposed to be used against suspected terrorists, which Mr Miranda clearly is not. What he did do was carry materials relating to Mr Greenwald’s reporting on documents passed to him by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and now a fugative whistleblower.
Mr Miranda was set free to continue his journey to Rio de Janeiro, where he and Mr Greenwald live, but only after his laptop and hard drive were confiscated. The incident angered Brazil’s government, already incensed by the revelations, co-written by Mr Greenwald and published on July 7th by O Globo, a Brazilian newspaper, that the NSA had allegedly been monitoring Brazilian citizens’ telecoms and internet activity for a decade.
On September 1st the row escalated further. TV Globo, the paper’s sister television network, aired a programme presenting documents provided by Mr Greenwald that suggest the NSA had spied not only on ordinary Latin American citizens but on Enrique Peña Nieto and Dilma Rousseff (pictured), the presidents of Mexico and Brazil, respectively. Among them was an NSA slide dated June 2012 displaying passages of what were said to be text messages sent by Mr Peña, who was still a presidential candidate at the time, in which he mentioned planned ministerial appointments. Though no content purporting to come from Ms Rousseff was shown, the programme detailed how the NSA filtered electronic communications and tracked e-mail, telephone calls and text messages sent between people close to her. [Continue reading…]