Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a criminal complaint Tuesday accusing journalist Glenn Greenwald of being part of a criminal organization that hacked the mobile phones of prosecutors and other public officials last year.
On his website, The Intercept Brazil, Greenwald published several stories based on the information that had been leaked to him by the hackers. The leaks appeared to expose government bias and collusion during an anti-corruption investigation that led to the arrests and sentencing of several political and business persons, including former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; da Silva was not allowed to run in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election because of his prison sentence. The hacked messages appear to suggest that judge Sergio Moro illegally influenced prosecutors during the course of the corruption investigations. Moro now serves as justice minister under President Jair Bolsonaro.
The criminal complaint names six individuals involved in the cyber crimes, and while Greenwald is not accused of aiding in the hacking itself, he is alleged to have advised one of the hackers to delete archives of material the hackers had sent to him in order to cover their tracks. The federal attorney’s office characterized this behavior as “auxiliary participation in the crime.” Greenwald released a statement denying the allegations of criminal participation, and stated that the accusation “is an obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported about Minister Moro and the Bolsonaro government.” It remains for a judge to accept the government’s charges before Greenwald would have to stand trial.
This is not the first time Greenwald has been involved in publication of leaked information; in 2013 he published classified information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs that he received from Edward Snowden.