Brazilian authorities have charged journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes, The New York Times reported, an alarming sign that Brazil’s increasingly authoritarian government is punishing a journalist for revealing explosive information.
Greenwald was accused of participating in a “criminal organization” that hacked the phones of several Brazilian authorities, according to the Times. His reporting, which included leaked cellphone text messages, exposed rampant corruption in a Brazilian anti-corruption task force known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Greenwald characterized the charges as “an obvious attempt to attack a free press” in retaliation for his reporting.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro began publicly threatening Greenwald after The Intercept, an investigative outlet Greenwald co-founded, began publishing articles in June 2019 that exposed ethical and legal misconduct by Brazil’s justice minister Sérgio Moro and chief anti-corruption prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol.
The stories were based on documents, recordings, and private WhatsApp messages leaked anonymously to the news outlet. Greenwald told the Committee to Protect Journalists he and his husband, Brazilian congress member David Miranda, began receiving “very graphic, detailed, and thought-out” threats soon afterward, many of which “contained substantial personal and private information about us.”
Greenwald is best known for 2013 reporting for The Guardian based on documents provided by former National Security Administration contractor Edward Snowden disclosing widespread government surveillance of ordinary citizens.
Here’s Greenwald’s statement on the charges:
Less than two months ago, after examining the same evidence cited today by Brazil’s Public Ministry, the Federal Police stated that not only have I never committed any crimes in my contacts with our source, but also that I exercised extreme caution as a journalist. This new accusation — brought by the same prosecutor who just tried and failed to criminally prosecute the head of the Brazilian Bar Association for criticizing Minister Moro — is an obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported about Minister Moro and the Bolsonaro government.