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.”