RIO DE JANEIRO – The Brazilian government condemned a U.S. spy program that reportedly targeted the nation’s leader, labeled it an unacceptable invasion of sovereignty and called Monday for international regulations to protect citizens and governments alike from cyber espionage.
In a sign that fallout over the spy program is spreading, the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that President Dilma Rousseff is considering canceling her October trip to the U.S., where she has been scheduled to be honored with a state dinner. Folha cited unidentified Rousseff aides. The president’s office declined to comment.
The Foreign Ministry called in U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon and told him Brazil expects the White House to provide a prompt written explanation over the espionage allegations.
The action came after a report aired Sunday night on Globo TV citing 2012 documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden that indicated the U.S. intercepted 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.
Mexico’s government said it had expressed its concerns to the U.S. ambassador and directly to the U.S. administration.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said, We’re going to talk with our partners, including developed and developing nations, to evaluate how they protect themselves and to see what joint measures could be taken in the face of this grave situation.
He added that there has to be international regulations that prohibit citizens and governments alike from being exposed to interceptions, violations of privacy and cyberattacks.
During the Sunday night TV program, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and first broke the story about the NSA program in Britain’s Guardian newspaper after receiving tens of thousands of documents from Snowden, told the news program Fantastico that a document dated June 2012 shows that Pena Nieto’s emails were being read.
The document indicated who Pena Nieto would like to name to some government posts, among other information.
As for Brazil’s leader, the NSA document doesn’t include any of Dilma’s specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto, 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 Rousseff communicated and tracked patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and also with third parties, according to the document.