Glenn Greenwald Charged with ‘Cybercrimes’ by Brazilian Government

Author and journalist Glenn Greenwald looks on during a meeting at Commission of Constitution and Justice in the Brazilian Federal Senate in Brasilia, Brazil July 11, 2019. (Adriano Machado/Reuters)

American journalist Glenn Greenwald was charged Tuesday with cyber crimes by Brazillian prosecutors after releasing the hacked cellphone messages of Sergio Moro, Brazil’s justice minister and an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro.

In a 95-page criminal complaint, prosecutors accuse Greenwald of being part of a “criminal organization” for coordinating with the hackers who accessed the information. By telling hackers to cover their tracks by deleting records they had shared with Greenwald’s outlet The Intercept, prosecutors say the journalist had a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”

Greenwald was made famous for his role in publishing classified national security documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013/ He began publishing articles in June on leaked texts which detailed embarrassing private conversations between the prosecutors behind a publicized crackdown on corruption in Brazil.

The Intercept also showed how Moro, a former federal judge who handled the prosecution of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017, broke legal and ethical norms by secretly advising prosecutors.

Bolsonaro and allies have been threatening Greenwald repeatedly since his reporting began, with the Brazilian president suggesting the journalist could “do jail time” for his exposes. In November, Greenwald was assaulted while on the air with a pro-Bolsonaro pundit.

“The Bolsonaro movement, like most authoritarian factions, favors intimidation and violence over civic discourse — against their adversaries in general, but especially against journalists they regard as obstacles. Predictably, the climate for journalists since the 2018 presidential election has become far more dangerous than before,” Greenwald wrote in a New York Times op-ed detailing the attack.

Update: Following the charges against Greenwald, The Intercept released a statement defending its founder against “such a blatantly political charge.”

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