David Miranda, the boyfriend of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who was detained in London last month, was allegedly carrying 58,000 "highly classified UK intelligence documents" at the time, according to a court statement from a government official. Along with the encrypted, leaked intel from NSA source Edward Snowden, Miranda had "a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files ... a sign of very poor information security practice," according to the U.K. security adviser. "I can confirm that the disclosure of this information would cause harm to UK national security."
But the government is still having trouble with the materials. The Telegraph reports that a criminal investigation is ongoing, and "police have so far only reconstructed 75 of the 58,000 classified documents which Mr. Miranda was carrying," calling the encrypted files — in spite of the password — "extremely difficult to access." Greenwald responded to the password claims on Twitter today:
Anyone claiming that David Miranda was carrying a password that allowed access to documents is lying. UK itself says they can't access them.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 30, 2013
@mattapuzzo The password doesn't give them any access to documents, which is why they say they can't access the documents.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 30, 2013
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger added that the intelligence official "makes a number of unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims in his witness statement. The way the government has behaved over the past three months belies the picture of urgency and crisis they have painted."
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Greenwald explained that only he and the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras "have access to the full set of documents which Snowden provided to journalists." The New York Times, ProPublica, and the Washington Post, he said, have some. To the Telegraph, Greenwald added, "The UK Government is incapable of pointing to a single story we have published that has even arguably harmed national security."