The White House said Monday that it was not involved in the British government’s decision to detain the partner of Glenn Greenwald at Heathrow Airport over the weekend.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the detainment of David Miranda, who lives with Greenwald in Brazil, was “a law enforcement action that was taken by the British government.”
"There was a heads up that was provided by the British government," Earnest said.
The White House spokesman said that he was unaware of any conversations Miranda had with British authorities.
Earnest said that he could not "provide any insight" into whether the U.S. would be briefed on information gleaned during Miranda's detention, and refused to comment more broadly about whether the White House was concerned by his detention.
"This is a decision they made on their own," Earnest said.
Earnest did not rule out that the U.S. had obtained information from Miranda's electronic devices.
Miranda was held for nearly nine hours, and had electronic equipment, including his cellphone, laptop, camera and memory sticks, confiscated by British authorities.
On Sunday, Greenwald, the journalist who revealed top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs, called the detainment of Miranda “a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process.”
“To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ [U.K. Government Communications Headquarters]. The actions of the U.K. pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere,” he said.
“But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: It will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively,” Greenwald added. Miranda was traveling back to Brazil from Berlin, where he had met with Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who has worked with Snowden.