Brazilian government has been one of the most fierce critics of NSA‘s international surveillance. Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, has repeatedly blasted US government over reports that she had been spied on by NSA. But now, the Brazilian government has confessed that it also spied on US diplomats in Brazil.
The revelations about the spying done by the Brazilian government comes from the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. The paper was able to get internal details and sensitive documents about these surveillance practices. The details were further confirmed with the help of former military and governments officials, the paper claims.
Rousseff has been quick in criticizing the paper for publishing these ‘classified’ documents. The statement issued from her office says, “The operations in question [took place] in accordance with Brazilian legislation pertaining to the protection of the national interest. As Folha preferred not to send copies of the documents obtained, the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI) could not verify their authenticity.”
The report by Folha states that the Brazilian intelligence spied on the rooms used by US embassy between 2003 and 2004. The intelligence also kept a close eye on the movements of the Iranian and Russian personnel. This is certainly infringement upon the privacy rights, but the extent of this spying is not even a fraction of a percentage of what NSA has been doing internationally. So while some may say that this puts Rousseff in an awkward position, there really is no reason why that should be so.
What is rather lamentable, though, is that Rousseff’s office has come hard against Folha, the paper that has published these details. Calling the publication of these papers a crime, her office vowed that those responsible will be prosecuted. This is unfortunate and will only reinforce the notion that the Brazilian government has no qualms in practicing censorship and suppression of free speech.