BRASILIA: The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, a Brazilian news programme reported, a revelation that could strain Washington’s relations with Latin America’s two biggest nations.
The report late Sunday by Globo’s news programme Fantastico was based on documents that journalist Glenn Greenwald obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, was listed as a co-contributor to the report.
Fantastico showed what it said was an NSA slide dated June 2012 displaying passages of written messages sent by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was still a candidate at that time.
In the messages, Pena Nieto discussed who he was considering naming as his ministers once elected. A separate slide displayed communication patterns between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers, Fantastico said, although no specific written passages were included in the report.
Both slides were part of an NSA case study showing how data could be “intelligently” filtered by the agency’s secret Internet surveillance programmes that were disclosed in a trove of documents leaked by Snowden in June, Fantastico said.
Brazil’s government, already smarting from earlier reports that the NSA spied on the emails and phone calls of Brazilians, called in US Ambassador Thomas Shannon to explain the new allegations that the agency had spied on Rousseff herself. Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said the contents of the documents, if confirmed, “should be considered very serious and constitute a clear violation of Brazilian sovereignty.”
“This (spying) hits not only Brazil, but the sovereignty of several countries that could have been violated in a way totally contrary to what international law establishes,” he told O Globo newspaper. Reuters