Glenn Greenwald

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Glenn Greenwald
Greenwald in 2014
Greenwald in 2014
BornGlenn Edward Greenwald
(1967-03-06) March 6, 1967 (age 53)
New York City, U.S.
EducationGeorge Washington University (BA)
New York University
Political and legal commentary
SubjectsU.S. politics
Notable works
(m. 2005)

Glenn Edward Greenwald[1] (born March 6, 1967) is an American journalist, author, and former attorney. He is best known for publishing a series of reports detailing previously unknown information about American and British global surveillance programs. These reports were based on classified documents provided by Edward Snowden.[2][3]

Greenwald worked as a constitutional attorney for ten years before he began blogging on national security issues since October 2005[4] and then contributing for Salon and The Guardian. At the time, Greenwald was an opinion columnist, influential on the left wing in the United States.[5] In June 2013, while at The Guardian, he wrote a series of reports on the documents released by Snowden. Along with other reporters, Greenwald won both a George Polk Award and a Pulitzer Prize for the reporting. Later in 2013, Greenwald founded The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, where he was co-editor for several years. He has written several best-selling books, including No Place to Hide.

Early life and education[edit]

Greenwald was born in New York City to Arlene and Daniel Greenwald.[6] Greenwald's family moved to Lauderdale Lakes, Florida when he was an infant.[7][8][9] His parents are Jewish and they and his grandparents tried to introduce him to Judaism, but he grew up without practicing an organized religion, did not have a bar mitzvah, and has said his "moral precepts aren't informed in any way by religious doctrine".[10] He received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from George Washington University in 1990 and a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1994.[7][9]


Litigation attorney[edit]

Greenwald practiced law in the litigation department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz from 1994 to 1995. In 1996, he co-founded his own litigation firm, Greenwald Christoph & Holland (later renamed Greenwald Christoph PC), where he litigated cases concerning issues of U.S. constitutional law and civil rights.[7][8] He worked pro bono much of the time, and his cases included representing white supremacist Matthew Hale in Illinois and the neo-nazi National Alliance.[11]

About his work in First Amendment speech cases, Greenwald told Rolling Stone magazine in 2013, "to me, it's a heroic attribute to be so committed to a principle that you apply it not when it's easy ... not when it supports your position, not when it protects people you like, but when it defends and protects people that you hate".[12]

Later, according to Greenwald, "I decided voluntarily to wind down my practice in 2005 because I could, and because, after ten years, I was bored with litigating full-time and wanted to do other things which I thought were more engaging and could make more of an impact, including political writing."[8]

Unclaimed Territory and Salon[edit]

In October 2005, he began his blog Unclaimed Territory focusing on the investigation pertaining to the Plame affair, the CIA leak grand jury investigation, the federal indictment of Scooter Libby and the NSA warrantless surveillance (2001–07) controversy. In April 2006, the blog received the 2005 Koufax Award for "Best New Blog".[7] Greenwald, according to Sean Wilentz in the New Statesman "seemed to take pride in attacking Republicans and Democrats alike".[11]

In February 2007, Greenwald became a contributing writer for the Salon website, and the new column and blog superseded Unclaimed Territory, although Salon prominently features hyperlinks to it in Greenwald's dedicated biographical section.[13][14]

Greenwald, Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman in April 2011

Among the frequent topics of his Salon articles were the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks and the candidacy of former CIA official John O. Brennan for the jobs of either Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) or the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after the election of Barack Obama. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for the post after opposition centered in liberal blogs and led by Greenwald.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

In an article for The Raw Story published in 2011, Greenwald criticized the prison conditions in which U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning, the convicted WikiLeaks whistleblower, was held after her arrest by military authorities.[21] Earlier in an article for Salon in 2010, as a defender of Manning, Greenwald described her as "a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives" and "a national hero similar to Daniel Ellsberg."[22]

Greenwald was described by Rachel Maddow during his period writing for Salon as "the American left’s most fearless political commentator."[11]

The Guardian[edit]

It was announced in July 2012 that Greenwald was joining the American wing of Britain's Guardian newspaper, with the intention of contributing a weekly column and a daily blog.[23][24] Greenwald wrote on Salon that the move offered him "the opportunity to reach a new audience, to further internationalize my readership, and to be re-invigorated by a different environment" as reasons for the move.[23][25]

On June 5, 2013, Greenwald reported on the top-secret United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to provide the National Security Agency with telephone metadata for all calls between the U.S. and abroad, as well as all domestic calls.[26][27][28]

On October 15, 2013, Greenwald announced, and The Guardian confirmed, that he was leaving the newspaper to pursue a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline".[29][30]

First Look Media and The Intercept[edit]

Financial backing for The Intercept was provided by Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder.[31][32] Omidyar told media critic Jay Rosen that the decision was fueled by his "rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world". Greenwald, along with his colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, initially were working on creating a platform online to support independent journalism, when they were approached by Omidyar who was hoping to establish his own media organization. That news organization, First Look Media, launched its first online publication, The Intercept, on February 10, 2014.[33] Greenwald initially served as editor, alongside Poitras and Scahill. The organization is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable entity.[34][35]

The Intercept was in contact with Guccifer 2.0 during the 2016 presidential campaign who relayed some of the material about Hillary Clinton, gathered via a data breach, to Greenwald. The Grugq, a counterintelligence specialist, reported in October 2016: "The Intercept was both aware that the e-mails were from Guccifer 2.0, that Guccifer 2.0 has been attributed to Russian intelligence services, and that there is significant public evidence supporting this attribution."[36]

According to Simon van Zuylen-Wood writing for New York magazine in early 2018, Greenwald has "repositioned himself as a bomb-throwing media critic" since the Snowden revelations.[37] By 2019, he was serving as a columnist without any control over the site's news reporting.[38]


Greenwald's first book, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok was published by Working Assets in 2006. It was a New York Times bestseller,[39] and ranked No. 1 on, both before its publication (due to orders based on attention from 'UT' readers and other bloggers) and for several days after its release, ending its first week at #293.[40]

A Tragic Legacy, his next book, examines the presidency of George W. Bush. Published in hardback by Crown (a division of Random House) on June 26, 2007, and reprinted in a paperback edition by Three Rivers Press on April 8, 2008, it was a New York Times Best Seller. Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, was also first published by Random House in April 2008.[41][42] With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, was released by Metropolitan Books in October 2011 and No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, was released in May 2014.[43] The latter work spent six weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list,[44] and was named one of the ten Best Non-Fiction Books of 2014 by The Christian Science Monitor.[45]

Global surveillance disclosure[edit]

Contact with Edward Snowden[edit]

Snowden, Poitras, and Greenwald were the recipients of the 2014 Carl von Ossietzky medal.

Greenwald was initially contacted anonymously by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, in late 2012[46] indicating his possession of "sensitive documents" that he wished to share.[47] Greenwald found the measures that the source asked him to take to secure their communications too annoying to employ.[46] Snowden then contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras about a month later in January 2013.[48]

According to The Guardian, what originally attracted Snowden to both Greenwald and Poitras was a Salon article written by Greenwald detailing how Poitras' films had made her a "target of the government".[47][49] Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[50] or in April, after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City, at which point Snowden began providing documents to them both.[46]

As part of the global surveillance disclosure, the first of Snowden's documents were published on June 5, 2013, in The Guardian in an article by Greenwald. According to him, Snowden's documents exposed the "scale of domestic surveillance under Obama".[51]

The series on which Greenwald worked contributed to The Guardian (alongside The Washington Post) winning the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2014.[52][53]

Greenwald's work on the Snowden story was featured in the documentary Citizenfour, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Greenwald appeared on-stage with director Laura Poitras and Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, when the Oscar was given.[54] In the 2016 Oliver Stone feature film Snowden, Greenwald was played by actor Zachary Quinto.[55]


In a statement delivered before the National Congress of Brazil in early August 2013, Greenwald testified that the U.S. government had used counter-terrorism as a pretext for clandestine surveillance in order to compete with other countries in the "business, industrial and economic fields".[56][57][58]

On December 18, 2013, Greenwald told the European Union's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs that "most governments around the world are not only turning their backs on Edward Snowden but also on their ethical responsibilities".[59] Speaking via a video link, Greenwald asserted that, "It is the UK through their interception of underwater fibre optic cables, that is a primary threat to the privacy of European citizens when it comes to their telephone and emails". According to a statement given to the European Parliament by Greenwald:

The ultimate goal of the NSA, along with its most loyal, one might say subservient junior partner the British agency GCHQ – when it comes to the reason why the system of suspicion of surveillance is being built and the objective of this system – is nothing less than the elimination of individual privacy worldwide

— Glenn Greenwald[60]

2019 Operation Car Wash Telegram chat leaks in Brazil[edit]

On June 9, 2019, Greenwald and journalists from investigative journalism magazine The Intercept Brasil where he was an editor, released several messages exchanged via Telegram between members of the investigation team of Operation Car Wash. The messages implicate members of Brazil's judiciary system and of the Operação Lava-Jato taskforce, including former judge and Minister of Justice Sérgio Moro, appointed by Jair Bolsonaro, and lead prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, in the violation of legal and ethical procedures during the investigation, trial and arrest of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the alleged objective of preventing him to run for a third term in the 2018 Brazilian general election, among other crimes. Following the leak, Folha de São Paulo and Veja confirmed the authenticity of the messages and worked in partnership with The Intercept Brasil to sort the remaining material in their possession before releasing it.[61]

On July 23, Brazilian Federal Police announced that they had arrested and were investigating Araraquara hacker Walter Delgatti Neto for breaking into the authorities' Telegram accounts. Neto confessed to the hack and to having given copies of the chat logs to Greenwald. Police said the attack had been accomplished by abusing Telegram's phone number verification and exploiting vulnerabilities in voicemail technology in use in Brazil by using a spoofed phone number. The Intercept neither confirmed nor denied Neto being their source and cited the provisions for freedom of the press in the 1988 Brazilian Constitution.[62]

Greenwald has faced death threats and homophobic harassment from Bolsonaro supporters due to his reporting on the Telegram messages.[63] A New York Times profile by Ernesto Londoño about Greenwald and his husband David Miranda, a left-wing congressman, described how the couple became targets of homophobia from Bolsonaro supporters as a result of the reporting.[64][65] The Washington Post reported that Greenwald had been targeted with fiscal investigations by the Bolsonaro government, allegedly as retaliation for the reporting,[66] and AP called Greenwald's reporting "the first test case for a free press" under Bolsonaro.[67] In November 2019, Greenwald claimed to the New York Times, he was assaulted in air.[68]

In reporting on retaliation against Greenwald from the Bolsonaro government and its supporters, The Guardian said the articles published by Greenwald and the Intercept "have had an explosive impact on Brazilian politics and dominated headlines for weeks," adding that the exposés "appeared to show prosecutors in the sweeping Operation Car Wash corruption inquiry colluding with Sérgio Moro, the judge who became a hero in Brazil for jailing powerful businessmen, middlemen and politicians."[69]

On August 9, after President Bolsonaro explicitly threatened to imprison Greenwald for this reporting,[70] Supreme Court justice Gilmar Mendes ruled that any investigation of Greenwald in connection with the reporting would be illegal under the Brazilian constitution, citing press freedom as a "pillar of democracy".[71]

In November 2019, Brazilian columnist Augusto Nunes physically attacked Greenwald during a joint appearance on a Brazilian radio program. Immediately prior to the attack, Nunes had argued that a family judge ought to take away Greenwald's adopted children, prompting Greenwald to call him a "coward." Two of Jair Bolsonaro's sons praised Nunes' actions, while former presidential candidate Ciro Gomes defended Greenwald.[72]

In January 2020, Greenwald was charged by Brazilian prosecutors with cybercrimes,[73] in a move that commentators described as retaliation for his reporting.[74] The Canary website described the charges as "ominously similar to the indictment of Julian Assange" and quoted Max Blumenthal and Jen Robinson as remarking on the similarity of the two sets of charges.[75] Greenwald received support from The New York Times which published an editorial stating "Mr. Greenwald's articles did what a free press is supposed to do: They revealed a painful truth about those in power". The Freedom of the Press Foundation made a statement asking the Brazilian government to "halt its persecution of Greenwald".[76] In February 2020, a federal judge dismissed the charges against Greenwald, citing a ruling from Supreme Court justice Gilmar Mendes that shielded him.[77]

Political views[edit]

United States[edit]

George W. Bush and Barack Obama eras[edit]

Miranda and Greenwald speak at the National Congress of Brazil in the wake of the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures.

Greenwald is critical of actions jointly supported by Democrats and Republicans, writing in 2010: "The worst and most tyrannical government actions in Washington are equally supported on a fully bipartisan basis."[78] In the preface to his first book, How Would a Patriot Act? (2006), Greenwald opens with some of his own personal political history describing his 'pre-political' self as neither liberal nor conservative as a whole, voting neither for George W. Bush nor for any of his rivals (indeed, not voting at all).[79]

Bush's election to the U.S. presidency "changed" Greenwald's previous uninvolved political attitude toward the electoral process "completely", and in 2006 he wrote:

"Over the past five years, a creeping extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation. This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding"; for, "the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American."[79]

Believing that "It is incumbent upon all Americans who believe in that system, bequeathed to us by the founders, to defend it when it is under assault and in jeopardy. And today it is", he said: "I did not arrive at these conclusions eagerly or because I was predisposed by any previous partisan viewpoint. Quite the contrary."[79]

Resistant to applying ideological labels to himself, he emphasized that he is a strong advocate for U.S. constitutional "balance of powers"[80] and for constitutionally protected civil and political rights in his writings and public appearances.[7]

Greenwald frequently writes about the War on Drugs and criminal justice reform. He is a member of the advisory board of the Brazil chapter of Law Enforcement Action Partnership.[81][82] Greenwald was also the author of a 2009 white paper published by the libertarian Cato Institute entitled, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies, exploring the role of drug policy of Portugal.[83]

He criticized the policies of the Bush administration and those who supported it, arguing that most of the American "Corporate News Media" excused Bush's policies and echoed the administration's positions rather than asking hard questions.[84][85] Greenwald accused mainstream U.S. media of "spreading patriotic state propaganda".[86]

Regarding civil liberties during the Obama presidency, he elaborated on his conception of change when he said, "I think the only means of true political change will come from people working outside of that [two-party electoral] system to undermine it, and subvert it, and weaken it, and destroy it; not try to work within it to change it."[87] He did, however, raise money for Russ Feingold's 2010 Senate re-election bid,[88] Bill Halter's 2010 primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln,[89] as well as several Congressional candidates in 2012 described as "unique".[90]

According to Greenwald, the emergence of ISIS is a direct consequence of the Iraq War and NATO-led military intervention in Libya.[91][92][93] Greenwald has been critical of U.S. and UK involvement in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[94] He wrote in October 2016: "The atrocities committed by the Saudis would have been impossible without their steadfast, aggressive support."[95]

Donald Trump election[edit]

In 2016, Greenwald blamed the media, on bias constantly playing Trump VS largely ignoring Bernie Sanders “old Jewish socialist who no body took seriously.” And that Sanders would have been a stronger candidate.[96]

Donald Trump and Russian election interference[edit]

Greenwald has criticized some of the policies of the Trump administration.[97][98] He said: "I think the Trump White House lies more often. I think it lies more readily. I think it lies more blatantly."[98]

During the Trump administration Greenwald became a prominent critic of the Democratic Party, alleging a double standard in their foreign policy. He said that "Democrats didn't care when Obama hugged Saudi despots, and now they pretend to care when Trump embraces Saudi despots or Egyptian ones."[98] Greenwald said that choosing between Trump and "whatever you want to call it. Call it the deep state, call it the national security blob, call it the CIA and the Pentagon", is like choosing between "Bashar al-Assad or al-Qaida or ISIS [in Syria] once the ordinary people of the Syrian revolution got defeated."[98]

He expressed skepticism of the James Clapper-led US intelligence community's assessment that Russia's government interfered in the 2016 presidential election.[37][98] Regardless of the accuracy of the assessment, Greenwald has doubted its significance,[37] stating "This is stuff we do to them, and have done to them for decades, and still continue to do."[98] In December 2018, he said: "I do regard the Mueller indictment as some evidence, not conclusive, but at least some evidence finally that the Russians are involved, but that doesn’t say the extent to which Putin was involved, let alone the extent to which Trump officials are criminally implicated."[99]

Greenwald sees Democrats' rhetoric on Russia as a more serious problem, characterizing it as "unhinged". According to Greenwald, "the effect is a constant ratcheting up of tensions between two nuclear-armed powers whose nuclear systems are still on hair-trigger alert and capable of catastrophic responses based on misunderstanding and misperception."[100] Greenwald also wrote that the "East Coast newsmagazines" are "feeding Democrats the often xenophobic, hysterical Russophobia for which they have a seemingly insatiable craving."[101] In a July 2018 panel on "fake news" in Moscow moderated by RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, Greenwald argued that the Democrats' focus on Russian interference in the 2016 election is motivated by a need to rationalize Clinton's loss.[102][103] He told The New Yorker in August 2018 "'Let’s just get along with the Russians' has been turned into something treasonous". Of Trump, he commented: "Even if he has weird dealings with Russia, I still think it’s in everybody’s interest not to teach an entire new generation of people, becoming interested in politics for the first time, that the Russians are demons." He said that both Trump and Jill Stein were being "vilified for advocating ways to reduce U.S./Russian tensions" and told Democracy Now! that the Putin–Trump summit in Helsinki during July 2018 was an "excellent idea" because "90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication",.[104]

Susan Hennessey, a NSA lawyer at the time of Snowden's NSA revelations, told Marcy Wheeler writing for The New Republic in January 2018, that Greenwald was only relaying "surface commentary" rather than evidence for or against Russian interference in the 2016 election.[105] Tamsin Shaw wrote in The New York Review of Books in September 2018: "Greenwald has repeatedly, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, decried as Russophobia the findings that Putin ordered interference in the 2016 US presidential election".[106]

Greenwald remained doubtful of assertions that the Trump presidential campaign worked with the Russians after the release of the letter about the Mueller's findings from attorney general William Barr in late March 2019. He called the investigation "a scam and a fraud from the beginning" in an appearance on Democracy Now!.[107] Greenwald told Tucker Carlson on Fox News: "Let me just say, [MSNBC] should have their top host on primetime go before the cameras and hang their head in shame and apologize for lying to people for three straight years, exploiting their fears to great profit".[108] He has claimed he is formally banned from appearing on MSNBC, citing confirmations from two unnamed producers for the network, for his criticisms of its coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. MSNBC has denied it has barred Greenwald from appearing on its programs.[109]

After the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, on April 22 he wrote that the press continued to promote the "conspiracy theory" that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.[110] In January 2020, Greenwald described the various assertions regarding Russian influence on American politics as "At the very best, ... wildly exaggerated hysteria and the kind of jingoistic fear-mongering that’s plagued U.S Politics since the end of WWII".[111]


Greenwald is a strong critic of both Benjamin Netanyahu and Jair Bolsonaro

In May 2016, Greenwald condemned The New York Times' "cowardice" on Israel, accusing it of "journalistic malfeasance".[112][113]

Greenwald is a critic of the Israeli government[114] including its foreign policy influence on U.S. politics, for which he has in turn been the subject of criticism, and Israeli occupation of the West Bank.[115]

In an exchange with Greenwald in February 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted, "It's all about the Benjamins baby" in reference to American politicians' support for Israel and invoked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Many Democratic and Republican leaders—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—condemned the tweet, which they said perpetuated an antisemetic stereotype of Jewish money and influence fueling American politicians' support of Israel.[116] Yet, Greenwald defended Ilhan Omar, saying that "we’re not allowed to talk about ... well-organized and well-financed lobby that ensures a bipartisan consensus in support of U.S. defense of Israel, that the minute that you mention that lobby, you get attacked as being anti-Semitic, which is what happened to Congresswoman Omar."[117]

Julian Assange[edit]

In a November 2018 Guardian article Luke Harding and Dan Collyns cited anonymous sources which stated that Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret meetings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and 2016.[118] Greenwald said that if Manafort had entered the Ecuadorian consulate there would be evidence from the surrounding cameras.[99] Greenwald, a former contributor to The Guardian, stated that the paper "has such a pervasive and unprofessionally personal hatred for Julian Assange that it has frequently dispensed with all journalistic standards in order to malign him."[119]

In April 2019, Greenwald condemned the arrest of Julian Assange, tweeting: "If you're a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump's mean tweets about your friends, but don't raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror."[120]

Greenwald criticized the government's decision to charge Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in the 2010 publication of the Iraq War documents leak. Greenwald wrote for The Washington Post: "The Trump administration has undoubtedly calculated that Assange’s uniquely unpopular status across the political spectrum [in the United States] makes him the ideal test case for creating a precedent that criminalizes the defining attributes of investigative journalism."[121]

Animal rights[edit]

Greenwald is vegan[122] and is also known for his reporting on animal welfare. In 2019, he introduced a new video series about animal rights, factory farms, and the agriculture industry.[123] He has worked with Wayne Hsiung and other animal rights activists to expose gruesome and filthy conditions on turkey farms owned by Norbest in Utah, and the laying of criminal charges against the activists by prosecutors in Sanpete County, Utah.[124] He has reported on the mass culling of pigs in Iowa by means of ventilation shutdown due to falling demand, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.[125] His investigations have also exposed how the animal agriculture industry routinely engages in "campaigns of surveillance, reputation destruction, and other forms of retaliation against industry critics and animal rights activists" through organizations that represent the industry, such as the Animal Agriculture Alliance.[126]

Jair Bolsonaro[edit]

Greenwald has been critical of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Greenwald said in October 2018 that Bolsonaro was "often depicted wrongly in the Western media as being Brazil's Trump, and he's actually much closer to say Filipino President Duterte or even the Egyptian dictator General el-Sisi in terms of what he believes and what he's probably capable of carrying out."[127]

Greenwald said that Bolsonaro could be a "good partner" for President Trump "If you think that the U.S. should go back to kind of the Monroe Doctrine as [National Security Adviser] John Bolton talked openly about, and ruling Latin America, and U.S. interests".[128]

Greenwald has faced death threats and homophobic harassment from Bolsonaro supporters due to his reporting on leaked Telegram messages about Brazil's Operation Car Wash and Bolsonaro's justice minister Sérgio Moro.[63] President Bolsonaro threatened Greenwald with possible imprisonment. The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism condemned Bolsonaro's threats.[129]

In January 2020, federal prosecutors charged Greenwald with cybercrimes, alleging he was part of a "criminal organization" that hacked into the cellphones of prosecutors and other public officials in 2019. Prosecutors said he played a "clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime" by, for example, encouraging hackers to delete archives in order to cover their tracks. Greenwald, who was not detained, called the charges "an obvious attempt to attack a free press in retaliation for the revelations we reported about Minister of Justice Sérgio Moro and the Bolsonaro government."[130] In February 2020, a federal judge dismissed the charges against Greenwald, citing a ruling from Supreme Court justice Gilmar Mendes that shielded him.[77]


Greenwald has been placed on numerous "top 50" and "top 25" lists of columnists in the United States.[140] In June 2012, Newsweek magazine named him one of America's Top Ten Opinionists, saying that "a righteous, controlled, and razor-sharp fury runs through a great deal" of his writing, and: "His independent persuasion can make him a danger or an asset to both sides of the aisle."[141]

Greenwald in Auckland, New Zealand, September 2014

According to Nate Anderson, writing in Ars Technica around 2010 or 2011, Aaron Barr of HBGary and Team Themis planned to damage Greenwald's career as a way to respond to a potential dump of Bank of America documents by WikiLeaks, saying that "Without the support of people like Glenn WikiLeaks would fold."[142]

Josh Voorhees, writing for Slate, reported that in 2013 congressman Peter King (R-NY) suggested Greenwald should be arrested for his reporting on the NSA PRISM program and NSA leaker Edward Snowden.[143] Journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin said "I would arrest [Snowden] and now I'd almost arrest Glenn Greenwald",[144] but later made an apology for his statement, which Greenwald accepted.

Journalist David Gregory accused Greenwald of aiding and abetting Snowden, before asking, "Why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"[145]

In a 2013 interview with Martha Raddatz of ABC News, Greenwald said that members of Congress are not being told "the most basic information about what NSA is doing and spying on American citizens and what the FISA court has been doing in terms of declaring some of some of this illegal, some of it legal."[146] Another participant was Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), who at the time was the ranking member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("House Intelligence Committee"). He responded: "We have rules as far as the committee and what you can have and what you cannot have. However, based on that, that statement I just made, is that since this incident occurred with Snowden, we've had three different hearings for members of our Democratic Caucus, and the Republican Caucus ... what we're trying to do now is to get the American public to know more about what's going on."[146] Rep. King, who was also a guest on This Week as a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, stated: "[T]o me it's unprecedented to have all of these top people from an administration during this time of crisis still come in and answer question after question after question. So anyone who says that Congress is somehow being stonewalled is just wrong and [the question] is generally, I think, raised by people who are trying to make a name for themselves."[146]

Standing ovation for Greenwald, Germany, December 2014

In a February 2014 interview, Greenwald said he believed he risked detention if he reentered the U.S., but insisted that he would "force the issue" on principle, and return for the "many reasons" he had to visit, including if he won a prestigious award of which he was rumoured to be the winner.[147] Later that month, it was announced that he was, in fact, among the recipients of the 2013 Polk Awards, to be conferred April 11, 2014 in Manhattan.[148] In a subsequent interview, Greenwald stated he would attend the ceremony, and added: "I absolutely refuse to be exiled from my own country for the crime of doing journalism and I'm going to force the issue just on principle. And I think going back for a ceremony like the Polk Awards or other forms of journalistic awards would be a really good symbolic test of having to put the government in the position of having to arrest journalists who are coming back to the US to receive awards for the journalism they have done."[149] On April 11, Greenwald and Laura Poitras accepted the Polk Award in Manhattan. Although their entry into the United States was trouble-free, they traveled with an ACLU attorney and a German journalist "to document any unpleasant surprises". Accepting the award, Greenwald said he was "happy to see a table full of Guardian editors and journalists, whose role in this story is much more integral than the publicity generally recognizes".[150] On April 14, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded jointly to The Guardian and The Washington Post for revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the NSA. Greenwald, along with Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, had contributed to The Guardian′s reporting.[151]

In 2014, Sean Wilentz in The New Republic, commented that some of Greenwald's opinions are where both meet, the far-left and far-right.[152] A 2017 article in The Independent, Brian Dean wrote: "Greenwald has been critical of Trump, but is perceived by many as someone who spends far more time criticising 'Dems' and 'liberals' (analysis of his Twitter account tends to give this impression)."[153] Simon van Zuylen-Wood in 2018 piece for New York magazine entitled "Does Glenn Greenwald Know More Than Robert Mueller?" noted what he calls "a new-seeming category of Russia-skeptic firebrands sometimes called the alt-left."[154] In February 2019, Max Boot wrote in The Washington Post: "Indeed, it’s often hard to tell the extremists apart. Anti-vaccine activists come from both the far left and the far right — and while most of those who defend President Trump's dealings with Russia are on the right, some, such as Glenn Greenwald and Stephen F. Cohen, are on the left."[155] Alexander Reid Ross in a May 2019 Haaretz article described Tucker Carlson's and Glenn Greenwald's positions as being a "crossover between leftists and the far-right in defense of Syria's Bashar Assad, to dismiss charges of Russian interference in U.S. elections and to boost Russian geopolitics".[156] In November 2019, Nancy leTourneau asked: "Why Is the Far Left Defending Tulsi Gabbard?", including in reference to Glenn Greenwald’s tweet.[157]

Personal life[edit]

Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro, the hometown of his husband, David Miranda, now a Congressman with the left-wing PSOL party.[158][159][160] Greenwald said in 2011 that his residence in Brazil was a result of the Defense of Marriage Act, an American law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court four years later. The law had prevented his partner from receiving a visa to reside with him in the United States.[161]

In 2017, Greenwald and Miranda announced that they had adopted two children, siblings, from Maceió, a city in Northeastern Brazil.[162][better source needed] Greenwald and Miranda have 24 rescue dogs.[37][163] In March 2017, Greenwald announced plans to build a shelter with Miranda for stray pets in Brazil that would be staffed by homeless people.[164] In March 2018, Greenwald tweeted videos showing the shelter as operational with dozens of pets and "previously homeless employees."[165]

Greenwald and Miranda were close personal friends of Brazilian human rights advocate and councilwoman Marielle Franco, known for criticism of police tactics, who was fatally shot while in her car by unknown assailants.[166][167]

A New York Times profile about Greenwald and Miranda described how the couple, as a result of Greenwald's reporting on high-level Bolsonaro officials and Miranda's outspoken opposition in Congress, have become primary targets for the Bolsonaro administration.[64]

Greenwald does not participate in any organized religion. He has said he believes in "the spiritual and mystical part of the world" and that yoga is "like a bridge into that, like a window into it."[168] Greenwald has also been critical of the New Atheist movement, in particular, Sam Harris and others critical of Islam.[169]


Geschwister-Scholl-Award for Greenwald, University of Munich, December 2014

Greenwald received, together with Amy Goodman, the first Izzy Award for special achievement in independent media, in 2009,[170] and the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary for his investigative work on the conditions of Chelsea Manning.[171]

His reporting on the National Security Agency (NSA) won numerous other awards around the world, including top investigative journalism prizes from the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting,[172] the 2013 Online Journalism Awards,[173] the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting in Brazil for his articles in O Globo on NSA mass surveillance of Brazilians (becoming the first foreigner to win the award),[174] the 2013 Libertad de Expresion Internacional award from Argentinian magazine Perfil,[175] and the 2013 Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[176] The team that Greenwald led at The Guardian was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on the NSA.[177] Foreign Policy Magazine then named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013.[178]

In 2014 Greenwald received the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis, an annual German literary award, for the German edition of No Place to Hide.[179] Greenwald was also named the 2014 recipient of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Georgia.[180]


  • 2014 No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Metropolitan Books (Div. of Henry Holt and Company); ISBN 1-6277-9073-X (10); ISBN 978-1-62779-073-4 (13).
  • 2011 With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Metropolitan Books (Div. of Henry Holt and Company); ISBN 0-8050-9205-6 (10). ISBN 978-0-8050-9205-9 (13).
  • 2008 Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. New York: Random House, ISBN 0-307-40802-7 (10); ISBN 978-0-307-40802-0 (13). (Also available as an E-book.)
  • 2007 A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. New York: Crown (Div. of Random House) ISBN 0-307-35419-9 (10); ISBN 978-0-307-35419-8 (13). (Hardback ed.) Three Rivers Press, 2008; ISBN 0-307-35428-8 (10); ISBN 978-0-307-35428-0 (13). (Paperback ed.)
  • 2006 How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok. San Francisco: Working Assets (Distrib. by Publishers Group West); ISBN 0-9779440-0-X (10); ISBN 978-0-9779440-0-2 (13).


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]