Maybe this is an exercise
Maybe this is an exercise to set a precedent in which one power will definitely nab a person of interest in a transit hub, and maybe via use of non-law-enforcement agents.
(Interesting that they did not assail him with charges of gay porn transport...)
How long before foreign powers start placing in in-transit centers "standby rendition artists/agents" who rotate between airports (to avoid suspicion if they were to stay in a single location (not in a hotel in the in-transit area, but in the waiting air/lounges) for more than 24 hours), waiting for a digital blurp containing the "go-grab code" to knock out or daze someone enough to make them compliant enough to put on a plane and whisk (wisk?) away to a non-interfering country?
If this is not already in the playbooks for these spooks, then I wonder why it has not happened yet, or at least not enough to be in the news. Maybe Snowden's arrival to the Russian airport with all those mazes of rooms, hallways, tunnels, and magic doors saved his ass from being nabbed by triple-agents playing more than 3 sides.
Nabbing someone's gear probably means something indeed was what they were after, or at least a copy of what they wanted. It may be that another party has another copy in transit, and he was a high-alert decoy, and some other undetected person in the loop slipped by. This probably was a high-stakes info transfer, and if they relied on just getting Miranda through, undoubtedly not going to have the right to have his equipment in his possession, would be an unsafe move.
But, keeping his gear away from him probably could mean:
-- the spooks who are scanning it found nothing incriminating, but just want to send a warning the world "we'll TAKE your shit from you even if you didn't personally do something wrong, if you are associated with someone we thoroughly despise.", or
-- it could be they used forensics techniques that somehow slipped up their search techniques
-- they found something, but it is heavily encrypted, will take some time, and might even be only a portion of what they are after, and is somehow possibly a dual-key to decrypt the other part of the file still out there (if such an encryp/decrypt process exists.
How long before confiscating a person's gear TURNS such people into "terrists"? Yes, we all are supposed to remember the mantra "back up, back up, back up!", but some people forget the meaning of having a reliable backup. Still, theft is theft, whether by a thief on the street or a government agent carrying a badge and unverified warrant.
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