Glenn Greenwald the Victim of Violent Robbery in Brazil
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed he was the victim of a violent, hour-long robbery — during which he had a gun thrust in his mouth — at his rental in Brazil.
Greenwald — best known for his work with Edward Snowden in leaking National Security Agency documents about mass surveillance — was attacked and tied up while alone at the “isolated and beautiful” farmhouse, he said.
His husband and their two kids were at their main home in Rio — and only escaped the harrowing robbery after a last-minute change in plans, Greenwald wrote in a lengthy piece on his website.
The raid was March 5, the night before his 54th birthday — with the alarm being raised by the 12 dogs with him who “were barking incessantly and intensely,” he wrote.
Greenwald walked out to see what was happening and “within seconds, three men wearing full black face masks descended on me, all pointing guns at me,” he wrote as they forced him back inside.
“Soon as I entered, I saw that two other armed men had detained the security guard, the off-duty cop, and had him laying face-down on the floor as they stood over him with guns pointed at his head,” he wrote, referring to the off-duty police officer who was working security at the farmhouse.
The outspoken journalist initially feared the armed raiders were tied to “a series of particularly disturbing threats we had been receiving” and that it could be “a targeted political attack.”
“I was relieved … when they began demanding money,” he wrote, saying that he had little of value at the farmhouse that he had been renting during the pandemic.
Greenwald said he had “five men pointing guns at me” for an hour, during which they also “attempted various forms of psychological terror.”
“They repeatedly threatened to shoot the police officer in the head, repeatedly kicked him so hard that they cracked several of his ribs,” he wrote of the crime gang who “generally tried to create a climate of extreme fear.”
They even “ordered me to open my mouth and stuck a gun in it as they demanded to know where the rest of the money was,” he wrote.
They eventually locked Greenwald and his security officer in a room where they “used cords to tie our arms behind our backs and bound our legs together.”
After the gang left, the journalist was able to free the ties and “used the computer they had idiotically left” behind to raise the alarm.
They stole his car — and used it in three other armed invasions. But the group was caught in surveillance footage and eventually identified, he wrote, without detailing if they had yet been arrested or charged.
“It was clear to me almost from the start that these were not professional criminals,” he said, calling them “nervous, agitated, desperate and disorganized.”
They stole “no more than two thousand dollars worth of value,” he said.
“A small amount of cash, a microwave, kitchen appliances and even food such as large packs of rice and beans. The most valuable item they took was the police officer’s gun,” he wrote.
The off-duty cop with him took three weeks to recover physically, and “is now, quite understandably, on psychiatric leave from the force,” Greenwald wrote.
“But by far the most consuming thought I had was how grateful I am that my two children were not there,” he said, revealing it was only because of a last-minute change of plans.
“I just cannot fathom what that would do to a child, and how terrifying it would be for yourself to know your children could be harmed,” he wrote.