WASHINGTON – The Obama administration was notified in advance that the British government planned to detain the partner of the journalist working with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to release classified information about U.S. intelligence programs, a White House spokesman said.
But the U.S. government didn't request and wasn't involved in the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
Earnest said the U.S. got a "heads-up" on the detention, but he declined to say whether the U.S. is privy to any data that may have been extracted from electronics taken from Miranda at Heathrow Airport during an international trip this weekend.
The Guardian reported that Miranda was detained under a British anti-terror law.
The detention was "a law enforcement action that was taken by the British government," Earnest said. "The United States was not involved in that decision or in that action. So if you have questions about that, then I would refer you to the British government."
Over the summer, the White House repeatedly requested the return of Snowden to the U.S. to answer questions about the leaks of national security details. Snowden is now living under temporary asylum in Russia as officials try to figure out what information he may have and with whom he is sharing it.
One person he has shared details with is Greenwald, an American citizen working for the British newspaper.
Asked if the U.S. government expects to be briefed on the questioning of Miranda, Earnest said he wouldn't go into it.
"I don't have a way to characterize for you any of the conversations between the British government and the U.S. government on this matter, other than to say that this is a decision that they made on their own and not at the request of the United States," Earnest said.