Snowden's Lawyer Interrogated By UK Authorities At Heathrow Airport

from the not-a-one-off dept

One of the most chilling moments so far in the Snowden saga was when Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was held and interrogated for nine hours at London’s Heathrow airport by the UK authorities, in a series of moves worthy of a tinpot dictatorship. And in case you thought that was a one-off, they’ve done it again — this time, to Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who represents Snowden and has spoken on his behalf several times. Here’s what happened, as described by Kevin Gosztola on his Firedoglake blog:

Jesselyn Radack told Firedoglake she was directed to a specific Heathrow Border Force agent. He “didn’t seem interested” in her passport. She was then subjected to “very hostile questioning.”

After asking what she would be doing in London, and establishing that she would be meeting with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the border agent moved on to other issues, and showed a surprising knowledge of her recent movements:

“Why have you gone to Russia twice in three months?” Radack said she had a client in the country. “Who?” She answered, “Edward Snowden.”

“Who is Edward Snowden?” asked the agent. Radack said he is a whistleblower and an asylee. Then, the agent asked, “Who is Bradley Manning?” To this, she answered, “A whistleblower.”

For whatever reason, the agent asked, “Where is he?” “In jail,” Radack told the agent. (Now, she is known as Chelsea Manning.)

The agent said, “So he’s a criminal?” Radack corrected the agent, “He’s a political prisoner.” The agent asked if she represented Manning and she said no. Then he followed up, “But you represent Snowden?” She replied, “Yes, I’m a human rights lawyer.”

The questions are clearly concerned with one topic — whistleblowers — and give the impression that the person asking the questions already knew the answers, but just wanted to put pressure on Radack:

She was “stone face cold” during the interrogation but afterward was shaking and in tears. “How did he know to bring up those names?”

This blatant attempt to intimidate Snowden’s lawyer, who was informed that she was on an “inhibited persons list,” comes in the wake of news that a US law firm was spied upon as it advised the Indonesian government in a trade dispute with Australia. It confirms that for the US and UK governments, nothing is exempt from their total surveillance, not even information traditionally covered by attorney-client privilege.

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Comments on “Snowden's Lawyer Interrogated By UK Authorities At Heathrow Airport”

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Duke (profile) says:

I wonder what legal authority they used for this. And whether this could be another potentially-embarrassing case against the Home Office for illegal stops & questionings.

That said, she did admit to going to meet a wanted fugitive, may have been coming from another person who is probably on some wanted lists, and I’m not sure the extent to which legal privilege would cover a border stop for questions.

Harassment, though, isn’t acceptable; if they wanted to arrest her, they should have done that, and been upfront about it. More likely, though, this is incompetence; she’s on a list somewhere, flagged up Snowden and Assange (also, presumably on lists) so some border agent thought this might be interesting.

Anonymous Coward says:

That the ‘agent’ asked about Manning, is a straight clue this was planned with the questioner already knowing Mrs. Radack was coming through. It was planned from that moment how it would be done, including the hostile atmosphere. What the NSA as well as the GCHQ want more than anything is to stop the embarrassment that these revelations have brought up in incidents.

They stopped David Miranda not because they suspected he was a terrorist but rather because they wanted to know what info Snowden had and Miranda’s documents would provide some of that information. They are still trying to find out all he has. Several attempts have been made to explain to the public they are aware of what he had and each time they have come away with egg on their faces and a new batch of embarrassing releases following.

No one can believe either the spy agencies and what they say, nor the apologists, nor their respective governments when it comes to legality, oversight, nor explanations. Nothing short of a full independent investigation with people outside the insiders will ever satisfy the pubic at this stage. Everything that has been put out has been lies and misdirections of the truth. It will take that to break through the cloak and dagger atmosphere of those agencies and determine just how far outside legality they have actually went. That they have broken many laws, both domestic and international goes without saying.

In the meantime, the longer it goes on, the worse it looks for these governments involved.

Fitzwilly (profile) says:

Re: If you keep on idolizing libertarian assholes like Snowden and Greenwald

…It will go badly for us all come mid-term election time, and with the Demms losing a a result of all this bullshit wanking over who wants to look at our emails or porn stashes (hint; nobody in th NSA wants to.) Leave the paranoia bullshit in the Phantom Zone where it belongs, along with the two idiots who are hell bent of profiting from it.

kitsune361 (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you keep on idolizing libertarian assholes like Snowden and Greenwald

I will never understand the level of stupidity that comes with the partisan hacks that circle their wagons around authoritarian government overreach just because it’s Democrats calling the shots.

He railed against the Bush administration for their civil liberties record just as much as he does against the Obama administration. Just like the line from The Who song, “… meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

“… libertarian assholes…” indeed. FFS, he gave the keynote at the annual Socialism Conference in Chicago in 2013.

So, tear down the man w/ ad hominem attacks instead of addressing the issues.. because any politician who doesn’t address the issues deserves what’s coming to them in the upcoming election… regardless of party.

Let me be bipartisan and say, to bad we don’t have a chance of losing Feinstein (D) this election cycle but at least we have a chance of losing Mike Rogers (R).

Fitzwilly (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: If you keep on idolizing libertarian assholes like Snowden and Greenwald

The “issues” need tissues because they are full of shit like the people that bring them up. Theres more important things to be concerned with than whos looking at somebodys mail, and instead of addressing them, the left is self-ratfucking itself into oblivion at warp speed, and taking other good progressive movements and people with it. Snowden just did this because he was a libertarian asswipe who got disillusioned and suddenly hated Obama (or maybe his underwear got too tight, I dont know.) Either way, he`s full of it, and this bullshit he spawned is dragging the left and progressive politics down with it.

kitsune361 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If you keep on idolizing libertarian assholes like Snowden and Greenwald

“… the left is self-ratfucking itself into oblivion at warp speed, and taking other good progressive movements and people with it.”

That’s something I agree with. What the hell does the Democrats and the organized portions of the Left in the US even stand for anymore? The whole place has been hollowed out and sold to the highest bidder and instead of “Change we can believe in” we get the same rat-fucking (to use your word) DINOs selling us out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bulk unconstitutional spying, will always be used to abuse human rights. Past history has proven this to be true. As does current events such as the ones unfolding in Heathrow Airport.

These bulk data collection spy programs, will always be used to suppress dissidents, blackmail politicians, and to perform industrial espionage.

These are simply the facts of the matter. Proven true by the past, and also right now in the present.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

arrogance of power.

They got away so far and expect to get away with it in the future. They consider themselves above the law, untouchable, indestructible. They don’t care about their official duties, they just care about power. Power they should never have been allowed to wield in the first place.

These people are criminally insane, the worst sociopaths you can imagine.

Anonymous Coward says:

surely it shows that whoever it is with their right hand up Obama’s back, yanking his cords, he has the left one up Cameron’s back, doing the same thing. like it says in the article, the USA and UK are hand in glove in the ‘surveille everyone, everywhere’. how else, if they haven’t been eaves dropping, know what they did about Jesselyn Radack?
it seems to me to be getting extremely scary and i can see a big falling out between the UK and the EU in the very not too distant future! Cameron wants to make sure he knows whose balls are hanging what side, or he could easily be losing his!!

Isma'il says:

This just goes to show

that all governments are basically corrupt. Doesn’t matter what the national language is, the economic system (capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, etc) is, what party is in power (liberals, tories, labour, etc), or who the leader(s) is (are). Dare to go against the status quo and you risk disrupting established institutions and that’s the last thing those in power want to happen.

Duke (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But you missed the first rule of lawyering; never lie. If you lie you might get into trouble. So you have to come up with a way of answering the question without giving them any new information and without lying. So “he’s a whistle-blower and asylee” – which is obviously something the border guard will know, so isn’t going to be remotely useful to the border guard, or have any chance of incriminating the lawyer.

Source; went through lawyer training (well some of it).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I believe it’s a matter of poor wording, the ‘stone face cold’ is likely referring to the harassing ‘officer’, while the second half is talking about the lawyer, and as far as getting a ‘tougher lawyer’, I wouldn’t look down on the woman for having such a reaction to the interrogation, it’s blatantly clear that’s exactly what was intended, so I’m sure they did everything they could to get her to break down.

Fitzwilly (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Maybe Snowden needs to man up, come back to the USA, and accept the consequences like the adult that he claims he is. But the problem is, he’s a whiny man-child who thinks that he’s just like MLK (at least MLK and others like him went to jail for what they believed in, unlike this bozo.) Please get wise and stop believing in bullshit.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ah good old ad hom, ‘When you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger’.

Only a complete and utter fool would stay within reach of the US after exposing their illegal and quasi-legal actions to the public that they’d been spying on and lying to, the fact that Snowden didn’t stick around has nothing to do with ‘avoiding the consequences of his actions’, and everything to do with ‘staying away from a government that has shown no hesitation in lashing out against those that expose their actions’.

No matter how much you sling around the insults, I’m glad to say, the cat’s out of the bag, and your precious spy agencies, and those that support them, have been exposed as the corrupt, power-hungry scum that they are, and each new and additional article on their actions makes it all the more clear.

Fitzwilly (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I guess that the people who did accept the consequences and did go to jail in the past for what they believed (Nelson Mandela, MLK, etc.)are fools by your reckoning, then.

BTW, asswipe, theyre notmy` precious spy agencies, but thanks for being a libertarian emoprog fool and idiot with no sense of history other than what happened to them yesterday all of the same.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Right, you might want to do a little checking, and see what happened to those that did ‘accept the consequences’ when it came to revealing illegal or quasi-legal actions on the part of the government in recent history. To put it simply, it didn’t go well for them, and pretty much nothing actually got fixed, so Snowden sticking around would have been nothing but counterproductive.

A comment that lists several examples:

BTW, asswipe, theyre notmy` precious spy agencies, but thanks for being a libertarian emoprog fool and idiot with no sense of history other than what happened to them yesterday all of the same.

Not ‘your’ spy agencies, and yet you’re apparently taking it personal when people question them, right

Also, I just have to ask, do you honestly think swearing and throwing out such laughable insults make your argument seem stronger? Because I don’t know about you, but when someone starts slinging around personal attack and swearing at the person they’re talking to, I don’t assume it means they have a solid argument, I assume it means they have no argument, and are trying to cover for the lack by attacking the other person.

kitsune361 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Can one simultaneously suffer from both Bush Derangement Syndrome and Obama Derangement Syndrome at the same time?

You throw around this phrase “Obama Derangement Syndrome”… I do not think it means what you think it means.

Let me put it another way: by so casually throwing around that phrase you make it sound like the choice is either you support the lawlessness of the USG and the National Security State just because there is a Democrat in office or you’re an ignorant, talk-radio-listening, ditto-head conservative?

Make yourself clear. From your other posts it just seems like you’re taking all this criticism of the government as a personal affront against the President, who you have the utmost faith in, and you’re trying to make this about the perceived political views of the people bringing this information to light. Do you have no capacity for nuance?

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh yes, like nearly anyone who has either done something wrong, or is accused of doing something wrong. People fight to be allowed into court – not.

I bet if you were accused of serious crap, especially in another country by some government, you wouldn’t be any more ‘manful’ either. So stop whining about your sour grapes that Snowden actually has a pair and did some good for the world.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Well, seems the UK has figured out a nice little way to skip past those pesky ‘rights’ things.

Arrest someone, and they have rights, there are limits as to what they can do to you, and there are records about the incident. However, if you just ‘question’ someone… heck, ‘forget’ to do the paperwork, or record it, and the event ‘never happened’.

Just Sayin' says:

Rights at the border

To be fair, the border agent can ask pretty much anything, and during that time frame, you are not “in” the country – you are requesting to enter.

This lawyer needs to realize that her clients are mostly “enemy of the state” types, and there is substantial risk that the lawyer may also be a go between, not only representing her clients but also carrying documents one to the other. In fact, based on her connection to Snowden, “chelsea”, and meeting up with Assange you can bet it’s a pretty good chance that she is being used in ways for these people to communicate. The questions at the border basically were about the reasons she was coming to the UK, and who she represented.

Honestly, she is lucky she got in at all. It would be very easy for the border agents to deny her entry, saying that Assange was not “in the country” but rather in Equador (technically, the embassy is their territory) and sent her back from where she came.

If she is going to represent disloyal people, she needs to understand that she is in for a very rough ride – and potentially even getting banned from entering the country.

Lurker Keith says:


You’d think at least the Western Nations would understand that Human Rights Violations like this will end up on the internet, for the entire world to see, including those that oversee whatever courts deal w/ International Human Rights Violations.

This was a stupid move for the US & UK (you know they at least discussed this). I hope to see the UK, if not also the US, on trial for this. That should be sufficiently embarrassing to make at least Congress think twice about letting it continue & hopefully light a fire under them to speed up the process to stop it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Get him all that's due him

Traitors should not even get a trial, let alone a fair one. I did not have a choice when he put me at risk, nor did the millions upon millions of Americans he put at risk by proceeding with his agenda to take out his grievances against the United States Government. I won’t sleep well again until I see him hanging from a yardarm for his treason against the people of the United States of America.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Get him all that's due him

I did not have a choice when he put me at risk, nor did the millions upon millions of Americans he put at risk by proceeding with his agenda to take out his grievances against the United States Government.

Umm…care to elaborate on this “risk” you speak of?

Thus far, the only harm I’ve seen come from the Snowden revelations is to the credibility of the US government and the other Five Eye nations.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Get him all that's due him

Looks like I am the first one to stop laughing after that comment. But it keeps coming back. Okay, I think I’ve stopped now…Finally! My tummy hurts!

Sorry, but I cannot mark as funny if you answer yes to either of these questions:

a) Are you an American?
b) Are you a politician?

Willy answer these questions. Well, will he?

P.S. While there are a handful of regular posters who don’t think, nasch is not one of them, but, welcome to the club!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Get him all that's due him

‘U.S. law’… you mean that law you’re advocating ignoring by skipping that whole ‘fair trial’, or even ‘trial’ bother and going straight to the execution?

And you wonder why people say it would have been a stupid idea for him to stick around and ‘accept the consequences of his actions’…

Considering more and more ‘patriots’ such as yourselves seem to be advocating no trial, just mob ‘justice’ for anyone who makes the USG look bad by exposing their actions, whistleblowers would have to be suicidally stupid to willingly put themselves within reach of people like you, because even if 99% of you are just full of hot air, all it takes is one person with a gun who decides to ‘deal’ with the ‘traitor’, and they’re either eating lead, or imprisoned under the guise of ‘protective custody’.

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