Glenn Greenwald Charged With Cybercrimes By Brazil’s Bolsonaro Government

Author Glenn Greenwald speaks at a book discussion at the Sixth & I Historic synagogue May 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was arrested in Brazil on Tuesday for cybercrimes, The New York Times reports. He is accused of being part of a “criminal organization” that spread hacked cellphone messages and harmed the image of an anti-corruption task force.

The charges stem from the work of the news organization Greenwald co-founded, The Intercept Brasil. According to the criminal complaint filed against Greenwald, the organization has published articles based on leaked messages the journalist claims to have received in 2019. Greenwald is accused of not only receiving the intercepted messages but coordinating with the hackers.

Critics of Greenwald’s arrest have cast doubt on the motives of members of Brazil’s justice system, many of whom were previously involved in the investigation of a corruption scheme that lead to the imprisonment of influential public figures, such as former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017.

In a statement addressing the charges, Greenwald took aim at Brazil’s controversial right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s and his regime, according to The Daily Beast.

“The Bolsonaro government and the movement that supports it has made repeatedly clear that it does not believe in basic press freedoms — from Bolsonaro’s threats against Folha to his attacks on journalists that have incited violence to Sergio Moro’s threats from the start to classify us as ‘allies of the hackers’ for revealing his corruption,” he said.

Greenwald pointed to the Federal Police’s explicit statement two months ago that he had never committed any crimes.

“I did nothing more than do my job as a journalist — ethically and within the law,” he said.

Greenwald called the charge an “obvious attempt to attack a free press” and likened it to retribution for the information he revealed about Minister Moro [Sérgio Moro] and the Bolsonaro government.

Moro is Brazil’s justice minister and the former federal judge that oversaw the prosecution of Lula da Silva and is accused of violating legal and ethical norms by aiding prosecutors.

Greenwald ended his statement by saying he will not be moved by the “tyrannical attempts to silence journalists” and claimed to be working on new reporting at the moment.

In November of last year, Greenwald made headlines when he was physically assaulted during a live interview with conservative Brazilian columnist Augusto Nunes, The Washington Post reported. The altercation stemmed from Nunes’ criticism of the care Greenwald and his husband were providing for their adopted Brazilian children.

The altercation led to Nunes trying and failing to punch Greenwald before successfully slapping him in the face.