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UK intelligence says it found 58,000 classified documents on Guardian journalist's partner

UK intelligence says it found 58,000 classified documents on Guardian journalist's partner

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David Miranda was in possession of around 58,000 "highly classified UK intelligence documents" when he was detained at Heathrow Airport under anti-terrorist laws last week, according to The Telegraph. In statements presented to London's High Court today, government officials reportedly noted that some of the seized documents could allow British intelligence officers to be identified overseas. They also said that the UK has been operating under the assumption that foreign governments had obtained those documents during time abroad by Edward Snowden, who originally leaked the information to Miranda's partner, Glenn Greenwald.

20GB of files have been accessed so far

One British intelligence officer noted that it would be "impossible" for Greenwald or other journalists to determine what information could or could not harm the UK's national security, The Telegraph's David Barrett reports on Twitter. The officer also rebuked Miranda for using poor security practices, as he was traveling with a decryption key that allowed for a secure file to be accessed. From what has been reviewed so far, the government reportedly believes that Snowden "indiscriminately appropriated material in bulk" when releasing the information.

A court order has now been issued that will allow Scotland Yard to continue examining the nine electronic devices seized from Miranda. Among those devices is a 60GB hard drive, 20GB of which have been accessed by the police so far, according to The TelegraphBarrett reports that the drive is encrypted with TrueCrypt, which a detective says has made the materials "extremely difficult to access." The Government Communications Headquarters, Britain's intelligence agency, is said to be assisting Scotland Yard in decrypting the files.

A full hearing is scheduled to take place in October. But while the British government continues to claim that great damage can come as a result of these leaks, Greenwald tells The Telegraph that the government is just trying to cover its own tracks: "The UK Government is incapable of pointing to a single story we have published that has even arguably harmed national security. The only thing that has been harmed are the political interests and reputations of UK and US officials around the world."