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Brazil’s PF | “We Are Not a Political Police”


Source: Polícia Federal

Topic: Political Influence in Federal Law Enforcement?

Translation: C. Brayton

Is the federal police a political police? The follow provides a rare glimpse of the internal workings of the agency after the political massacre of former director Paulo Lacerda in connection with Operation Satyagraha: briefly transferred to the leadership of ABIN — the Brazilian CIA — he wound up in exile as an attaché to the embassy in Spain.

The Satygraha case (PT-Br) had ominous political implications for the PSDB, involving as it did the privatization of telecommunications during the Cardoso years.

PF leadership and rank and file alike — does anyone remember the strange tale of Edmilson “Bruno Surfistinha” Bruno? — was accused of political favoritism and the persecution of the case officer, Protogenes Queiroz, who is currently a federal deputy for the PCdoB, began.

According to a report in the Folha de São Paulo, “to the suprise of the delegates, rather than discussing the future of the case, the meeting consisted entirely of complaints from the most senior officials, such as the use of handcuffs on some of the suspects and allegedly providing a scoop to a news broadcaster — though to be TV Globo, though the broadcaster denied this in an official statement. At the end of this meeting, it was announced that Queiroz would be subjected to two internal inquests.

Read in that light the following:

The Policia Federal Replies

In regard to the article published on August 30 on the news site Folha Online, titled “Federal police say there is ‘political control” of investigations,” the federal police explains as follows:

The survey realized by the national federation of federal police  (Fenapef) interviewed just over 1,730 of a total contingent of 14,075 employees, among police and administrative personnel from all over Brazil. This number is, therefore, not a highly significant one (12%) compared with our entire contigent.

As to supposed poltical interference in the work of agents, the General Director of the PF is unaware of any such activity, and announces it will open a proceeding to determine what motivated such a declaration.

With respect to the “freezing” of police salaries, the General Director of the PF wishes to make it clear that these negotiations are conducted directly between the unions nd the Ministry of Planning,and that the talks remain open. Career paths such as delegado, crime scene expert and administration, for example, accepted the adjustment made by the Government and were taken into consideration.

The federal police also wish to inform the public that since the beginning  of its current leadership, in 2011, operations against corruption have steadily grown each year. Among these are Operations Voucher, G-7, Montecarlo and Concutare. Between early 2011 and August 2013, a total of 695 operations were undertaken, among them a number of cases of misuse of public funds and corruption.

The lack of investment in the PF and the decrease in productivity indicated by the above-mentioned survey does not reflect reality. Current leadership continues to invest in equipment of the most diverse kinds, as well as the construction of offices for our agents.

After a lean 2011, the PF budget grew by 21% the following year, as Felipe Patury of Época points out.

Defense seems to be taking the deepest cuts at the moment, judging from budget documents. A “megaoperation” was scheduled this year to coincide with the release of budget numbers; The São Paulo office recently made some budget adjustments that will free it from the need to cut spending

The measure will permit the PF in SP to receive the entirety of its budget by the end of the year.

The official statement points to its spending as a sign of diligence.

We acquired more than 11,300 bulletproof vests for all of our personnel, everywhere in Brazil.  We purchased more than 1,450 new cars, as well as motorboats  and bomb disposal robots, and distributed them to offices all over Brazil.

Not to mention the construction of new offices in cities like Campina Grande (PB), Presidente Prudente (SP), Santa Cruz do Sul (RS) and Guaíra (PR), as well as new superintendencies in Acre and Roraima, which will be the next to be delivered. Residences for police assigned to the borders were created. A bonus for performing such duty was approved by the federal congress, and awaits the signature of the president.

In short, there are no legal provisions allowing the creation of a list of three names in order to select the director general.

Call and Response

The item in question, as far as I can tell from the Folha’s search engine, ran on August 31, as follows:

Federal police investigators are subjected to “political control” in the view of 89% of the federal agents who participated in a survey by the National Federation of  Federal Police, published today. Only 11% said that such pressure does not exist.

Asked whether “in your work environment you have ever witnessed or heard tell of interference with federal police work,”  75% of those interviewed said yes and 25% said no.

In the view of 94%, the “lack of investment in the PF in recent years” is “punishment for investigations into corruption.”

The performance of current PF director-general, Leandro Daiello Coimbra, nominated by the president in 2011, was harshly appraised by interview subjects.

No fewer than 69% of those interviewed viewed his administration as very poor, while 21.8% rated it as poor. Only 0.9% said it was good, and 0.06% considered it very good.

1.732 police, including agents, secretaries, and fingerprinters, were interviewed. Delegados [special agents in charge?] were not included.

The PF had not commented on the survey results by the closing time of this edition.

I am unsure what the official statement refers to when it refers to the “triple list.”

In other government agencies — the Attorney-General just went through this process — senior agency personnel are polled and a list of three names is produced. By tradition, the President nominates one of these three, though the rule is not binding.