Glenn Greenwald, a longtime journalist who founded The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil, was charged with cybercrimes in Brazil on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.
Brazilian prosecutors alleged that Greenwald was part of a "criminal organization" that hacked the phones of numerous public officials and prosecutors.
Prosecutors claimed that Greenwald helped the hackers, which he denied.
Prosecutors alleged that Greenwald played a "clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime" by urging the hackers to delete their tracks and speaking to them while they were monitoring private chats.
"The one thing I could not do is give direction," Greenwald told the Times. "That's crossing a line. I was very careful."
Greenwald says charges are retaliation for reporting:
Greenwald, a longtime critic of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, published texts showing that a judge who later became Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister coordinated with prosecutors while overseeing a corruption probe that led to the imprisonment of former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, which paved the way for Bolsonaro’s election.
"Less than two months ago, the Federal Police, examining all the same evidence cited by the Public Ministry, stated explicitly that not only have I never committed any crime but that I exercised extreme caution as a journalist never even to get close to any participation," Greenwald told The Daily Beast. "Even the Federal Police under Minister Moro's command said what is clear to any rational person: I did nothing more than do my job as a journalist — ethically and within the law."
"This denunciation — brought by the same prosecutor who just tried and failed to criminally prosecute the head of the Brazilian Bar Association for criticizing Minister Moro — is an obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported about Minister Moro and the Bolsonaro government," he added. "We will not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists."
Advocacy groups condemn charges:
"The United States must immediately condemn this outrageous assault on the freedom of the press, and recognize that its attacks on press freedoms at home have consequences for American journalists doing their jobs abroad," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement.
"This outrageous attack on press freedom is clearly an intimidation tactic from embarrassed prosecutors. It must not be tolerated," added the Freedom of the Press Foundation. "Greenwald and his reporting at The Intercept Brazil have been the subject of frequent verbal attacks from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and even a police investigation — conduct that has already been declared a violation of Brazil's constitution by the country's Supreme Court. Today's charges represent a flagrant disregard for that court order."