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Bilateral Relations | The Prism Schism

images (1)

Sorting out the tangled mess that the impact of the Snowden leak on U.S. Brazilian relations promises to produce.

Federal police will check  Brazilian telecoms for clandestine cooperation with the Prism program.

Attempts are already underway in the Congress to fast-track the “Civil Code of the Internet” bill as a result of the incident.

Relations between the Cardoso government and the U.S. administration will be disinterred and dissected, I suspect.

(Booz Allen, the employer of Snowden, was a close strategic adviser to the Cardoso government, as one internaut has correctly pointed out. And lest we forget, the Kroll affair suggests that operations, not just analysis, are on the menu of services provided by the global consultancies. )

The end of this alleged strategic cooperation coincided with the term ending in the elections of 2002 — naturally enough, with the advent of Lula —  and ABIN, the Brazilian CIA, has not been the same since, or so I read.

It would not be heart-attack surprising if someone from the Brazilian intelligence world came forward with more fuel for the fire. What would be surprising would be news that ABIN and CIA-NSA never, ever engage in joint operations or share information. Colombian kingpins do get caught and extradited, for example.

At any rate, some information along these lines should be expected from an upcoming congressional hearing on the scandal.

Source: G1


[Caption] Thomas Shannon, U.S. ambassador to Brazil: the Ambassador did not respond to questions about the veracity of information on the monitoring of data of Brazilians. Source: G1

Thomas Shannon said today (July 8) that published information about the monitoring of information about Brazilian citizens paint an “incorrect” picture of the U.S. intelligence program.  Shannon met this afternoon with communications minister Paulo Bernardo to discuss the matter, and said that the U.S. is “contesting the concerns of the Brazilian government.”

“We have an excellent degree of cooperation with Brazil in the areas of intelligence and law enforcement. Unfortunately, the articles published in O Globo paint a picture of our program that is incorrect, and so we are working with the Brazilians to respond to the questions raised [by the articles],” Shannon said.

A July 7 report in O Globo revealed that Brazilian telecommunications were among the highest priority focal points of monitoring by the NSA, according to documents leaked by former agent Edward Snowden. The data were monitored using a secret electronic surveillance device called Prism.

The Ambassador did not respond to questions from journalists about the veracity of these reports on the monitoring of data on Brazilian citizens. He said he has met with the Secretary-General of the Brazilian foreign service and is scheduled to meet today with the minister in charge of the Presidential Office of Institutional Security, General José Elito Carvalho Siqueira.

Source: Terra

Patriota Dissatisfied

Brazilian foreign secretary Antonio Patriota today  — July 10 — affirmed that information furnished by the U.S. government regarding reports of espionage carried out by U.S. agencies against Brazilian citizens is insufficient. Patriota, however, ruled out any changes in bilateral relations due to the allegations of electronic surveillance.

“(U.S.-Brazilian relations) are broad and inclusive. The U.S. is our second largest commercial partner (after China). We have established dialogue on any number of topics,” the minister said, after a public hearing in the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, also attended by ministers José Elito Siqueira (Presidential Office of Institutional Security) and Celso Amorim (Defense).

Asked whether the explanations provided by the Americans so far were sufficient, Patriota said they were “unsatisfactory so far.” He also recalled that various agencies of the government were investigating the charges, … identifying specific points which need “additional clarification.”

In a meeting yesterday with the U.S. ambassador,  Patriota was informed by Shannon that a team of experts in various aspects of communications had been assigned to investigate the espionage charges.  Diplomats present at the meeting told Agência Brasil that Shannon said he was willing to collaborate with Brazilian autorities.

Brazil’s ministry of foreign relations confirmed that the  ambassador delivered a one-page document to Patriota, communicating the creation of a group of experts and committing the U.S. to collaboration with the Brazilians.  Prior to this, the Brazilians had sent the Americans a note demanding explanations.

In its letter, the Brazilian government asks for explanations concerning  “allegations of espionage .” The expression used by the Brazilian authorities — espionage — was not contested by the Americans.

Specialists in foreign affairs say that this means that the U.S. considers the Brazilian reaction warranted and will carry out the investigation.

U.S. Espionage in Brazil

… NSA allegedly used a program called Fairview, in partnership with a U.S. telephone company that furnishes the U.S. government with data from electronic networks. The company, which maintained business relations with other companies of various nationalities, also offered information on network users in other countries, expanding the reach of NSA’s electronic intelligence collection.

According to O Globo, one of the stations maintained by agents of NSA, in partnership with the CIA, operated in Brasília until at least 2002.  Other documents indicate that Brazil’s U.S. Embassy and UN mission were targeted by the agency.

Immediately after the accusation was published, Brazilian diplomats demanded explanations. Patriota said that Brazil was “concerned” about the case.

The U.S. Ambassador denied that the U.S. government collects data on Brazilian soil and affirmed that there was no cooperation between Brazilian companies and the U.S. spy agencies.

In response to the case, the Brazilian government tasked Anatel, the communications regulator, to verify whether telecoms operating in Brazil violated the confidentiallity of data and telephone communication,  The federal police also initiated an inquiry into the facts of the case.

In the wake of the revelations, minister  Ideli Salvatti (Institutional Relations) said she would rerquest that the pending “civil code of the Internet” be fast-tracked. The bill has been in process in the National Congress since 2011 and is currently under consideration by the lower house.

Carta Capital cover stories on U.S. presence in the late 1990s,  by Bob Fernandes

Carta Capital cover stories on U.S. presence in the late 1990s, by Bob Fernandes