Disclosures alleging that the United States has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in Brazil will not affect Brazil-U.S. relations, said the head of the country’s joint congressional committee on intelligence.
Congressman Nelson Pellegrino told foreign correspondents in Brasilia that despite Brazil's strong repudiation of the US information gathering activities in Brazil the good relations we have with the United States will not be interrupted.
We have sent Washington a clear message that we are interested in maintaining good relations, but that we will not accept these kinds of practices, he said. We cannot accept that a country spies another, on its citizens, its companies and its authorities.
“President Dilma Rousseff's state visit to Washington October was still on and that it would not be affected by the recent disclosures”, he added.
Summoned by the Senate, Defense Minister Celso Amorim acknowledged that Brazil invests little in cyber-security, with just 22 million dollars earmarked in the 2013 budget. Still, he insisted that no amount of money can create a totally secure system.
No country has the capacity to establish absolute protection of its communication networks, Amorim told the Senate's foreign relations committee. Even in an ideal situation, there would not be a shield that could completely protect us.
The O Globo newspaper reported last week that information released by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showed Brazil is the top target in Latin America for the NSA's massive intelligence-gathering effort aimed at monitoring communications around the world.
Earlier, O Globo reported that in Brazil, the NSA collected data through an association between U.S. and Brazilian telecommunications companies. It said it could not verify which Brazilian companies were involved or if they were even aware their links were being used to collect the data.
Congress has asked U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon for explanations.
President Dilma Rousseff said any such activity infringed upon the nation's sovereignty, and that Brazil would take the issue up at the United Nations.