Brazil will probe telecommunications companies to see if they illegally shared data with the United States National Security Agency after it was found the US had been spying on President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s government has accused the US of lying about the NSA’s activities in the country.
In response to the revelations, President Dilma called an emergency meeting of ministers in which it was decided to call on the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to carry out checks on telecom companies based in Brazil to see if they collaborated with the NSA.
The Brazilian government blasted NSA’s activities as “impermissible and unacceptable” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty.
“[The US has] not given any reasonable explanations. In fact, all the explanations that have been given so far are false,” said Minister of Communications Paulo Bernardo.
The US ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, was summoned by the government to account for the reports of NSA snooping on Tuesday. He claimed the NSA does not monitor communications on Brazilian territory or collaborate with telecommunications companies.
Citing data leaked by Edward Snowden, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed on Sunday that the NSA had been monitoring both the Brazilian and Mexican presidents.
“It is clear in several ways that [Rousseff’s] communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats,” Greenwald said.
In the wake of the new scandal Brazilian media is speculating whether the spy revelations will lead to a strong reaction from the Brazilian government and the cancelation of Dilma’s October visit to the States.
Citing a presidential spokesperson, Globo reporter Gerson Camarotti wrote that if a “satisfactory explanation” is not given by the Americans then Dilma “will not rule out canceling the visit.”
“There has to be a convincing explanation. If this doesn’t happen, the situation will become extremely delicate,” said the spokesperson.
US relations with Brazil have worsened considerably as a result of Edward Snowden’s leaks regarding the NSA’s massive spy network. Back in August, UK authorities detained Brazilian citizen David Miranda in a London airport over suspicions he was carrying leaked NSA data on behalf of his partner Glen Greenwald. UK law enforcement held Miranda for nine hours under the terrorist act and confiscated electronic equipment.
Brazil called Miranda’s detention without charges unjustifiable and called on the UK authorities to account for the move. Meanwhile Brazilian lawmakers have called for police protection for Greenwald and his partner, who have been invited to Congress to talk about the issue.