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U.S.-Brazil tensions rise after new spy report
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Brazil met with his Brazilian counterpart Monday following new revelations that the National Security Agency’s spy program directly targeted the South American nation’s leader.
Ambassador Thomas Shannon arrived and left Brazil’s Foreign Ministry without speaking to reporters. There was no comment from officials at the Foreign Ministry either.
The office of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said it had no immediate comment, but Ms. Rousseff was meeting with top ministers to discuss the case.
Lawmakers in Latin America’s largest nation were outraged over the Globo TV network’s report citing documents dated June 2012 from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
They showed that the U.S. was targeting Ms. Rousseff’s emails and telephone calls, along with those of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose communications were being monitored even before he was elected president in July 2012.
Brazilian Sen. Ricardo Ferraco, head of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, said that lawmakers already had agreed to formally investigate the U.S. program’s focus on Brazil because of earlier revelations that the country was a top target of the NSA program in the region, and that the probe would likely start this week.
“I feel a mixture of amazement and indignation. It seems like there are no limits. When the phone of the president of the republic is monitored, it’s hard to imagine what else might be happening,” Mr. Ferraco told reporters in Brasilia. “It’s unacceptable that in a country like ours, where there is absolutely no climate of terrorism, that there is this type of spying.”
During the Sunday-night TV program, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told the news program “Fantastico” that a document dated June 2012 shows that Mr. Pena Nieto’s emails were being read. The document’s date is the month before Mr. Pena Nieto was elected.
The document indicated whom Mr. Pena Nieto would like to name to some government posts, among other information.
It’s not clear if the spying continues.
As for Brazil’s leader, the June 2012 document “doesn’t include any of Dilma’s specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto,” MR. Greenwald told The Associated Press in an email. “But it is clear in several ways that her communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats.”
The U.S. targeting mapped out the aides with whom Ms. Rousseff communicated and went a level further by tracking patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and also third parties, according to the document.
Messages sent to Mr. Pena Nieto’s office were not immediately returned. He was delivering his State of the Nation speech on Monday. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said it had no comment.
Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo told the newspaper O Globo that “if the facts of the report are confirmed, they would be considered very serious and would constitute a clear violation of Brazil’s sovereignty.”
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