CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday strongly defended the British government’s nearly nine-hour detention of David Miranda, the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.
Toobin argued on CNN’s “AC360” that British authorities were “justified” in the detention.
“Let’s be clear about what Mr. Miranda’s role was here. I don’t want to be unkind, but he was a mule. He was given something, he didn’t know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of the airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules. Glenn’s view is, as long as one of the two people at either end of that transaction was a journalist he can take anything he wants.”
Miranda was detained Sunday at London’s Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the U.K.’s Terrorism Act as he tried to return to his home in Rio de Janeiro. He had picked up materials in Germany from Laura Poitras, the filmmaker who’s collaborated with Greenwald in reporting on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. British authorities seized a laptop, thumb drives, and other materials from Miranda before releasing him.
Greenwald and Miranda appeared separately on “AC360,” with the Guardian reporter argued that British authorities were effectively criminalizing journalism. But Toobin, appearing after Greenwald and Miranda, disputed that point.
“Glenn’s view is, as long as one of the two people at either end of that transaction was a journalist he can take anything he wants,” he said.
Toobin, who has been one of the most vocal critics of former government contractor Edward Snowden and intelligence disclosures, clashed with Greenwald last month in a tense on-air debate on WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning. In June, Toobin argued in a column for The New Yorker that Snowden “deserves to be in prison.”