Glenn Greenwald’s Partner David Miranda Opens Up About His Detention, and the Couple’s Life in Brazil


Buzzfeed profiles Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda, who was detained in August at Heathrow airport while transporting documents related to the NSA revelations published by Greenwald in the Guardian earlier this year.

Miranda offers a revealing account of his detention:

A rotating tag team of seven agents asked Miranda questions ranging from his personal life with Greenwald to his family background to his own politics. Miranda’s request for a translator was brushed aside, and all nine hours were spent being interrogated in English.

“First they tried to pit me against Glenn,” Miranda recalls. The agents asked Miranda whom he went to the nightclubs with in Berlin. “Boyfriends,” Miranda replied, meaning male friends. Did Glenn know about these boyfriends? “No.” How would Glenn feel if he knew Miranda was out with the other men? “Fine.” They asked if Miranda had been in contact with Edward Snowden. “No.” Were his family members political? “No.” They asked about Miranda’s political views. Did he support the street protests in Brazil? “Yes.” Did he participate in the protests? “No.”

“They offered me water, but they didn’t pour it front of me,” Miranda says with a note of pride. “So I said no. I didn’t trust them for a second, I never had a drink of water while I was there, and I never got up to go the bathroom.”
Back in Brazil, Greenwald was asleep at home. “I get a phone call at 6:30 in the morning, which you know is bad news,” Greenwald says. A man who gave no name identified himself as a “security official at Heathrow Airport” and said Miranda was in detention under the Terrorism Act. He told Greenwald that Miranda had been held at that point for three hours and that they could hold him up to nine hours, at which point they could arrest him, release him, or ask a judge for additional time to interrogate.

His life with Greenwald:

If you ask Miranda about the dynamics between him and Greenwald (and the 10 stray dogs the couple have adopted), Miranda describes himself as the alpha. “I’m the pack leader,” Miranda tells me, grinning. “A son of Apollo.” Miranda tends to dominate through his moods; he’s quick to show his disdain, annoyance, or disappointment. “I’m a very emotional person,” Miranda says, putting both tan hands to his Armani-clad chest. “Like, you will always know how I’m feeling and when I’m feeling it.” Greenwald, a former champion high school debater, city council candidate, and courtroom litigator, tries to counter Miranda’s occasional brooding or temper with point-by-point arguments to the contrary.

“We yell when we fight,” Miranda admits, “but we never break up. There’s something in the universe that says we have to be together. I never met anyone like Glenn — he’s my husband and I don’t know where either of us would be without each other.”

And his determination to support Greenwald in his ongoing journalistic endeavors:

“Ultimately, as harrowing and unjust as it was, the U.K. actually did us a favor,” Greenwald says as we head toward the car. “They revealed how abusive the U.S. and U.K. can be with power, which is a major point of the reporting I’m doing; they humanized the story, and they gave a platform for my charming and admirable husband to speak out.”


  1. keating says

    very interesting story.
    I laughed when Miranda let us know that he’s the top in the relationship (“I’m the alpha male”).
    Yes, dear, we know you’re Brazilian and so you need to say this.

  2. says

    “Alpha male” = not necessary info, but okay.

    I’m not sure why anyone was surprised when he was targeted. He was not targeted out of the blue, as the guy’s partner, he was targeted because he was an active participant in alleged wrongdoing.

    He says he’d go to jail for it, and so he himself should not have been terribly surprised he was detained.

    I found it disingenuous that so many observers made it into an issue of “OMG, now THEY are going after this poor guy’s partner.”

  3. Jerry says

    He uses “alpha male” to describe his position as leader of the pack of 10 dogs they have. Alpha Male is a pack term, for those of you who only seem to know it through your Grindr app.

  4. Petes says

    It’s so romantic that Greenwald met the 18 year-old, half-his-age, love of his life while he was randomly “hanging out on the beach” in Rio, taking a break from his career producing porn in New York.

    Umm, yeah.

  5. nn says

    Agree I also think Greenwald is a traitor. He is not innocent, he knew exactly what he was doing and did it on purpose so he is guilty. Hope they manage to catch him at it eventually.
    (Snowden i also a triator!)

  6. JoshLondon says

    “Miranda decided toward the end of the trip to catch a later flight into London, where there was a short layover in Heathrow before continuing onto Rio. “I called the airline to change flights,” Miranda recalls, “and they wouldn’t let me. They didn’t give me any details, they just kept telling me they couldn’t do it. I knew the morning of my flight something bad was going to happen; I could feel it.””

    Considering that the later flight departed at 11:15 am from Berlin and arrived at Heathrow at 12:15 pm with the only connecting flight to Rio at 12:20 pm, there simply was no later flight from Berlin. So there’s another lie.

    Which brings up another point…there were faster and less expensive routes via Paris and Lisbon which would have gotten him home four or more hours earlier.

    The folks at The Guardian may well have had special rates with British Airways but almost certainly not for coach travel ex-Brazil.

    And it makes no sense to route Miranda via the UK especially when he held sensitive documents.

    He and Greenwald wanted him to get stopped. They counted on it. If they were at all shocked, then they are much, much dumber than they have let on.

    This was a calculated move to bait the UK authorities.

  7. Chris says

    Self serving spin from a traitor, once they started revealing surveillance of foreign leaders, they became traitors to their country. Whether they agreed with the program or not, revealing spy operations of foreign countries is traitorous. Stop giving this despicable human press coverage.

  8. disgusted american says

    just cause he’s revealing the Truth doesn’t make it wrong……if it wasn’t for greenwald – we’d know NOTHING!!

  9. James in Toronto says

    Some of the comments are a bit parochial, IMO. From a non-American point of view, the spying is the questionable activity, not the reporting of it.

  10. will says

    If Glenn’s a traitor, bring on more traitors! We have to abolish this massive national security state we live under and find out exactly what the CIA and NSA are doing in our names.

  11. Scott x says

    Can’t figure out if all the posters here are a couple right wing trolls or if there really are that many sheep among the readers of this site. Government has made a huge over-reach around civil liberties, and exposing this is heroic.

  12. JackFknTwist says

    What is truly fascinating is the dismissive tone of you jaded American heroes, who can’t wait to jump up and down with your chants of ‘USA USA’……but when it comes to the ancient right of liberty of the citizen, you stumble over each other to kow-tow to the security dictats with which you have been brain washed since the first time you said your Oath of Allegiance. (In itself an inappropriate inculcation of jingoism.)

    This piece above was quite interesting; it shows me that a country which has been in perpetual war ( I include your invasion of Granada – so heroic !) now has its pretend allies in thrall….
    And the sooner they all wake up, and we wake up, and call your snooping ( even on your allies) what it is -aggression- the better. And that should be followed by long term strategies to dissociate from such an aggressor.

    And to those sneering at this couple’s relationship – phuck you.

  13. JackFknTwist says

    @ CHRIS :
    Blah blah blah……and Liberty and Justice for all.

    What a load of $h1T.
    The traitors are those snoopers/spies who betrayed Liberty.

  14. James in Toronto says

    By the way, am I the only one having trouble swallowing that a Brazilian could be called a traitor to the US?

  15. jake says

    I don’t really have an opinion on the information they’re trying to expose — sunlight is good. But, I still think they’re both incredibly creepy, both in terms of their relationship and their enjoyment of the spotlight.

  16. Sol says

    I thought they were considered heroes or role models among gays and I thought gays had more sense of justice. I guess I was wrong. There are idiots and ignorants in every spectrum of social life. Never imagined of all nationalities Americans were the ones so willingly to turn their lives to big government to surveil.

  17. AG says

    “I thought they were considered heroes or role models among gays and I thought gays had more sense of justice. I guess I was wrong.”

    Most commenters here are Obamabots and Dem hacks who happen to be gay. They have no principles other than cheering their team. Only 5 years ago the same hacks were claiming that dissent was patriotic. Then they would have treated Greenwald and Snowden as heroes fighting the evil Bush regime. But today the Dem party cannot separate itself from total surveillance regime imposed on the US, so the hacks are now in full support of the Big Brother. There’s nothing else to it.

  18. says

    Nonsense, @AG, Snowden’s/Greenwald’s supporters and detractors lie on both sides of the political divide. (My FB feed is full of Greenwald cheerleaders and these people ain’t Republicans.) Like any Republicans siding with Snowden chumming up with Russia or cheering on Greenwald are doing so out of principle.

  19. AG says

    Ernie, I was replying to the comment about gay men who denounced Greenwald and his partner as traitors. My explanation pertained only to those folks. I’m aware that Snowden’s and Greenwald’s supporters and detractors lie on both sides.

  20. miami says

    The US government has a right to spy on all of us, if you have nothing to hide then you will be OK. I really trust everything the government, big corporations, and my religious leader tell us, because if it wasn’t true they wouldn’t have said it, right? Its amazing how many US citizens are traitors. Thankfully the government keeps records on all of our citizens so it knows.
    G-d Bless America!

  21. says

    I realize that, @AG, but I think gay Greenwald supporters and detractors also lie along various points in the political spectrum. And some of the comments about their relationship are just the usual TR b*tchiness, not limited by political affiliation.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of any surveillance regime, yet I also find Greenwald extremely obnoxious. And the reporting (much of it liberal) that Miranda was only detained because he’s Greenwald’s boyfriend was condescending; he was transporting documents. Wouldn’t call either of them traitors.

  22. says

    I’m thrilled that Glenn Greenwald, the journalist at the Guardian who did such a stellar job making sure Edward Snowden’s revelations about how our government has succumbed to the national-security-state dictates of the ultra-secretive NSA, is lucky to have such a handsome supportive partner. Considering conservatives like Rand Paul and liberals like Ron Wyden in the US Senate both want to reign in the NSA’s Big Brother activities, isn’t it pathetic that trolls still come to this website, calling these heroes “traitors”.

  23. mudduck says

    It’s hard to believe that people calling Greenwald “traitor” (or “narcissistic”) are responding to his actual work. They seem to be repeating establishment talking points. Worse, they may be working for establishment organs, dropping little poison pills into any positive discussion of opposition to the Surveillance State. Trolls, or saboteurs? Unpleasant lot, to be sure.

  24. JoshLondon says

    “but when it comes to the ancient right of liberty of the citizen”

    It’s not every day you read something that moronic.