By Stephanie Foden, Contributing Reporter
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Fresh allegations of U.S. spying on Brazil’s top leaders emerged on Sunday. President Dilma Rousseff and top aides have had confidential communication intercepted by the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA), Rio-based American journalist Glenn Greenwald disclosed this Sunday on primetime Globo newscast Fantástico.
The top-secret documents, leaked to Greenwald by former NSA analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, appear to show that the agency hacked Rousseff’s telephone calls and e-mail exchanges.
Brasília responded promptly to the allegations: U.S. ambassador Thomas Shannon was called in yesterday morning by new Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, where he was told the Planalto Palace – the seat of Brazil’s executive power – expects the White House to hand in a written explanation over the next few days.
“He [Shannon] understood what was said, because it was said in very clear terms,” said Figueiredo at a news conference held after the meeting.
“He took note of everything I said. Today [Monday] is a holiday in the United States, but he has agreed to get in touch with the White House today [Monday] to forward our conversation, so they send us the formal information this case requires,” the minister added.
According to reports, President Dilma Rousseff is considering canceling her state visit to the United States in October over the news revealed on Sunday, but it is said she is waiting on the United States’ response to make a final decision.
Also addressing the press was the Minister of Justice Eduardo Cardoso, for whom “this would reveal an unacceptable and inadmissible situation to our sovereignty.”
“When data is intercepted not to investigate the unlawful, but in an economic and political context, no doubt the situation gets that much more serious. They [the U.S.] had previously told us verbatim that they made no interceptions for political and economic purposes,” said Cardoso.
This is the second major blow to shake Brazil-U.S. relations in less than two months. Earlier in July another leak by Greenwald and Snowden showed that hundreds of thousands of Brazilian phone numbers and e-mail accounts had been monitored by the NSA.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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