Journalist Glenn Greenwald has denied he encouraged a source in Brazil to hack cell phones from which he obtained information to use in reporting on widespread government corruption.
“When the source first talked to me, he had already obtained all the material that he ended up providing us, making it logically impossible for me to have in any way participated in that act,” Greenwald told New Yorker writer Isaac Chotiner after Brazilian prosecutors charged him with cybercrimes. “And the federal police, just a few months ago, concluded that not only was there no evidence that I committed any crimes but much to the contrary, I conducted myself, in their words, with ‘extreme levels of professionalism and caution,’ to make sure that I didn’t get ensnared in any criminal activity.”
Federal prosecutors accused Greenwald – the founder of The Intercept and known for bringing documents about a secret U.S. government surveillance program nicked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to light – of “facilitating the commission of a crime” and “directly” assisting, encouraging and guiding others to access online chats pertaining to a sweeping anticorruption program in Brazil dubbed “Operation Car Wash.”
The revelations from those chats and other content exposed corruption among prosecutors and a judge overseeing the program, which took down former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The Intercept called the charge “blatantly politically motivated” and an “apparent retaliation for The Intercept’s critical reporting.”