Over the past weekend, British authorities detained Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, under the guise of one of Great Britain’s anti-terrorism laws. This has been quite a controversial topic for all sides of the NSA leak story that Greenwald and leaker Edward Snowden have been doling out to the media via Greenwald’s column at The Guardian. The authorities across the pond stopped and detained Miranda on suspicion that he may have been carrying more classified and secret intelligence data to Berlin, where one of Greenwald’s associates was waiting for Miranda.
Whether or not you feel that Snowden should have leaked the information, and whether or not you feel Miranda should have been detained for national security reasons, what CNN pundit Jeffrey Toobin said about Miranda is just plain inflammatory rhetoric and not helpful at all to the larger discussion. Speaking on CNN, Toobin said of Miranda, “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 an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules.”
Toobin on the surface is right — Miranda as acting as a clandestine courier of sorts, but the comparison ends immediately there. Firstly, it should be noted that as of right now, there are neither charges nor any implication of charges that Miranda is an actual terrorist. If you’re going to hold someone using the anti-terrorism laws of your country, perhaps you should actually feel your target is actually a terrorist. Secondly, Miranda was acting as courier while helping with a journalistic endeavor. Some have said he deserved his treatment because technically it’s his partner who is the reporter, but by that logic, we should be able to hold lower-level producers and interns at news outlets on suspicion of terrorism under the same circumstances.
Watch the video of Toobin’s comments below, and let us know what you think of them.