- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2013

In the latest sign of worldwide anger over U.S. spying, the president of Brazil on Thursday canceled a trip to Washington by a team of aides who were to prepare the way for her official state visit to the White House next month.

The move by President Dilma Rousseff signaled her outrage over revelations that the National Security Agency directly targeted her phone calls, emails and mobile phone texts. A Brazilian TV network reported Sunday that the NSA was likely reading the content of Ms. Rousseff’s emails and text messages.

Ms. Rousseff is considering the possibility of canceling her trip to Washington, the White House’s only official state visit this year, unless President Obama’s administration gives “convincing answers” in writing about the U.S. spy agency’s actions in Brazil.

The escalating tensions between the two countries also are casting fresh doubt on a pending deal for the U.S. to sell 36 Super Hornet fighter jets to Brazil.

A senior Brazilian official said Thursday that Ms. Rousseff is “completely furious.”

“This is a major, major crisis … There needs to be an apology. It needs to be public. Without that, it’s basically impossible for her to go to Washington in October,” the official told Reuters.

During a visit to Brasilia in June, Vice President Joseph R. Biden tried to help clinch the deal for the fighter planes, which are manufactured by Boeing Co. Mr. Biden assured Ms. Rousseff that Congress was likely to respect Boeing’s agreement to transfer sensitive technology to Brazil as part of the package.

Both Mr. Obama and Ms. Rousseff attended the G-20 summit Thursday in St. Petersburg, Russia. They were seated next to each other at a session and chatted, although White House aides didn’t say what they talked about.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the administration is trying to work with Brazilian officials to ease their concerns about surveillance.

“We understand how important this is to the Brazilians,” Mr. Rhodes said. “We understand their strength of feeling on the issue.”

Mr. Rhodes said the U.S. “will work with the Brazilians so that they have a better understanding of what we do and don’t do, and so that we have an understanding of their concerns.”

Asked whether the Obama administration would apologize to the Brazilians, Mr. Rhodes said, “What we’re focused on is making sure the Brazilians understand exactly what the nature of our intelligence effort is. If there are concerns that we can address consistent with our national security requirements, we will aim to do so.”

The U.S. spying on the Brazilian president and her advisers was revealed Sunday by Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for Britain’s Guardian newspaper who broke the story about NSA leaker Edward Snowden and the extent of U.S. surveillance programs. Mr. Greenwald resides in Rio de Janeiro with his partner, David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen.

On Monday, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo summoned U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon to explain the reported spying.

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