Brazilian Senate requests protection for journalist Glenn Greenwald as part of probe into U.S. spying

As Brazil begins its investigation into claims that the U.S. spied on the communications of President Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian lawmakers are seeking federal protection for journalist Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda, RT.com reported. Legislators say Greenwald and Miranda need to be protected due to the importance of their testimony on the probe.

The Rio de Janeiro-based journalist recently brought up allegations that a secret report leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden proofs that the U.S. intelligence agency targeted Rousseff’s phone calls, e-mails and mobile phone texts.

Due to these claims, the Brazilian government has demanded an explanation from the U.S. and Rousseff is considering canceling a White House visit planned for next month, where she would be honored with a state dinner, the Huffington Post wrote. The official visit was also meant to highlight the improvement in relations between the two biggest economies in the Americas.

The Brazilian Senate has 180 days to investigate the claims and the investigation can be extended by another 180 days if the commission needs more time.

American journalist Glenn Greenwald became recognized worldwide after being the first to report on U.S. mass surveillance programs based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, or NSA.

In addition to Greenwald’s stories published in the Guardian, the journalist began working with Brazilian media to publish several stories about NSA espionage program in Brazil.

The news collaboration with his Brazilian colleagues came after a mid-August incident at London’s Heathrow Airport, where Miranda, a Brazilian national who lives in Rio de Janeiro with Greenwald, was held and interrogated for nine hours and had his electronic equipment confiscated.

British officials say they were operating under an anti-terrorism law, but Greenwald said his partner’s detention had "clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA,” according to The Guardian.

The NSA reports that came out in July and August also show that besides Brazil, the U.S. had targeted Mexico and other South American nations to gain commercial intelligence.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.