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No economic espionage? NSA docs show US spied on Brazil oil giant Petrobras

Published time: September 09, 2013 05:00
Edited time: September 10, 2013 12:55
Reuters / Paulo Whitaker

Reuters / Paulo Whitaker

Despite earlier US assurances that its Department of Defense does not “engage in economic espionage in any domain,” a new report suggests that the intelligence agency NSA spied on Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras.

Brazil's biggest television network Globo TV reported that the information about the NSA spying on Petroleo Brasileiro SA came from Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published secrets leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Globo TV aired slides from an NSA presentation from 2012 that revealed the agency’s ability to gain access to private networks of companies such as Petrobras and Google Inc.

One slide specified an ‘economic’ motive for spying, along with diplomatic and political reasons.

This seems to contradict a statement made by an NSA spokesman to the Washington Post on August 30, which said that the US Department of Defense “does not engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

An official from the NSA told Globo that the agency gathers economic information not to steal secrets, but to watch for financial instability.

Petrobras is known to have discovered some of the world's biggest offshore oil reserves in recent years.

Some of the new reserves are estimated to be around as 100 billion barrels of oil, according to Rio de Janeiro State University.

None of the leaked slides went into the reasons behind the NSA spying on the Brazilian firm.

The US spy agency then reportedly shared the gathered information with the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The new report about US spying on Brazil could intensify the already existing tensions between Brazil and US.

The relationship between the two countries became tense as Globo reported about allegations that NSA has intercepted private communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and her Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto.

Brazil responded by canceling preparations for the presidential visit to the United States and beginning a probe into telecommunications companies to see if they illegally shared data with the NSA. Also, Brazil has asked for a formal apology.

During the G20 summit US tried to address the issue by US President Barack Obama pledging to work with Brazil and Mexico to address their concerns over US spying revealed in recent NSA leaks. 

On Monday President Rousseff spoke with the president of Petrobras, Graça Foster, as well as the president of the country's National Petroleum Agency, Magda Chambriard. Petrobras is also set to release a statement on the matter, reports O Globo.

In her statement the Brazilian head of state said that "it is evident that the reason for the attempted espionage is not security or combating terrorism, but economic and strategic interests" adding that Petrobras represented "no threat to the security of any country. Rather, it represents one of the greatest assets of the world's oil and a heritage of the Brazilian people."

Rousseff concluded her remarks on Monday by saying that the Brazilian state would take "all measures to protect the country , the government and its companies ."

Comments (13)

 

Sam 16.09.2013 19:54

U.S.S.A. has backed itself into a corner, many nations are now requesting either apologies or answers following Snowden's revelations.

"The US spy agency then reportedly shared the gathered information with the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."

Really? Does anyone see someone missing from this list? Israel maybe?

Noth ing to see here, move along now. I said now!

 

eslaporte 15.09.2013 12:35

Brazil seems to me to be progressing toward social democracy and a country that cares about its people. This will attract the US and its Laissez-faire capitalist thinkers who believe that "freedom" is defined by laissez-faire capitalism - and anything less, like social democracy, are "socialism" ; and "signs of attacks against freedom."
I f you are a country that takes care of your own people and regulates capitalism in some way, expect to attract spying and perhaps sabotage by the US.

 

William Hewitt 12.09.2013 05:38

Biden and Obama spell BO and smell like bad odor and they are the "Lying & Spying" government!

NSA Clapper is lying spying gestapo! BO is a lying spying government! BO works for NSA lying spying Clapper!

View all comments (13)
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