Brazil’s Miranda, key figure in Snowden leaks, dies

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian journalist, activist and former congressman David Miranda, the husband of US blogger Glenn Greenwald and his collaborator on the story of American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s intelligence leaks, died on Tuesday (May 9) after a long illness.

He would have turned 38 Wednesday.

“It is with the most profound sadness that I announce the passing away of my husband,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter.

“His death, early this morning, came after a 9-month battle in (intensive care). He died in full peace, surrounded by our children and family and friends,” added Greenwald, 56, who lives in Brazil with his and Miranda’s two sons.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent his condolences, calling Miranda “a young man with an extraordinary trajectory who left too soon,” in a message on social media.

Miranda, who grew up in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Jacarezinho, worked with Greenwald on publishing Snowden’s intelligence leaks in 2013, which blew the lid on vast surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Miranda was briefly detained over his role in the leaks at London’s Heathrow Airport in August that year, in what Greenwald condemned as an “intimidation” campaign against those involved.

Back in Rio, Miranda led a movement to grant asylum in Brazil to Snowden, who eventually fled to Russia to avoid arrest on US espionage charges.

Miranda was elected the first openly gay man on the Rio city council in 2016, then became a congressman in 2019.

He was named to Time magazine’s list of “Next Generation Leaders” that year.

Miranda was hospitalised last August after suffering abdominal pain and digestive problems, Greenwald had said.

Doctors diagnosed a series of infections that entered his bloodstream and eventually led to multiple organ failure.

Greenwald, co-founder of investigative site The Intercept, remains an outspoken figure in Brazil.

He drew the ire of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro in 2019 after the site’s Brazilian edition published leaked chats from the leader’s justice minister at the time, ex-judge Sergio Moro, suggesting he had conspired with prosecutors to jail veteran leftist Lula in order to sideline him from the 2018 presidential race.