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Brazil Charges American Journalist Glenn Greenwald With Cybercrimes For Publishing Leaked Texts

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Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
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Brazilian authorities charged American journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept Tuesday with cybercrimes for his role in publishing cellphone messages from members of a Brazilian anti-corruption task force.

Authorities accused Greenwald, who resides in Brazil and is married to Brazilian politician David Miranda, of partaking in a “criminal organization” responsible for hacking into the cellphones of Brazil’s Operation Car Wash anti-corruption prosecutors, The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors said Greenwald played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime,” accusing him of encouraging hackers to delete certain records to cover their tracks.

Greenwald said in June when The Intercept began publishing his expose on the task force that the private chats, audio recordings, videos and other documents were provided to him by an anonymous source.

Operation Car Wash was launched in 2014 and resulted in the jailing of dozens of Brazilian politicians, including the nation’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. However, the leaked cellphone messages Greenwald published revealed that the overseer of the corruption probe, Justice Minister Sergio Moro, collaborated with prosecutors to ensure da Silva’s conviction.

Greenwald’s reporting led to the annulment of at least one of the probe’s corruption convictions, Reuters reported.

Greenwald said in a statement Tuesday that the Brazilian government’s accusation against him “is an obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported about Minister Moro and the Bolsonaro government.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro personally threatened to imprison Greenwald in July for being “aligned with criminal hackers” after he began reporting on the leaked messages.

But Brazil’s top court rebuked Bolsonaro’s threat in August, saying that officials cannot investigate Greenwald for protecting his confidential threats.

The case Brazilian prosecutors put forward Tuesday against Greenwald shares similarities with the case U.S. prosecutors laid against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in April. Assange was accused of playing an active role in Chelsea Manning’s theft of thousands of diplomatic cables in 2010.

Greenwald then faced pressure from Bolsonaro’s government over his relationship with his husband.

“Seemingly out of nowhere, he called on a family court judge to investigate whether I and my husband, David Miranda, a congressman for the Socialism and Liberty Party, are taking proper care of our two adopted children,” Greenwald wrote in a New York Times op-ed in November. “A judge should investigate, he argued, since we both work.”

“During the last six months of The Intercept’s reporting on Mr. Bolsonaro’s government, the right-wing leader not only repeatedly and publicly threatened me with prison, but also explicitly accused me and my husband of having a sham marriage, and of having adopted Brazilian children as a fraud, in order — he claimed — to enable me to avoid being deported,” Greenwald wrote.

Greenwald was slapped in the face on air by a pro-Bolsonaro Brazilian journalist in November after the journalist confronted Greenwald about his husband and adopted children. (RELATED: Glenn Greenwald Slapped Live On Air By Brazilian Journalist)


Greenwald is most well known for publishing a trove of CIA documents Edward Snowden leaked to him exposing an extensive internet and phone surveillance program by the intelligence agency.

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