Sept 2, 2013
The NSA’s spy program allegedly targeted the communications of the Brazilian and Mexican presidents, US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first published secrets leaked by Edward Snowden, has reported. It’s not clear whether the spying still goes on.
Guardian reporter Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told Globo’s news program ‘Fantastico’ that a document dated June 2012 shows that Mexican President’s emails were being read through a month before Enrique Pena Nieto was elected. In his communications the then-presidential candidate indicated who he would like to appoint to some government posts.
Meanwhile, as for Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the document Greenwald refers to “doesn’t include any of Dilma’s specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto…But it is clear in several ways that her communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats,” the journalist told AP in an email.
According to the document, the US not only targeted the aides with whom the Brazilian leader communicated, but also allegedly scrutinized schemes of how those aides communicated with each other and third parties.
Neither Mexico’s Foreign Ministry nor the Brazilian president’s office have made official comments so far. Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo, however, told O Globo newspaper that “if the facts of the report are confirmed, they would be considered very serious and would constitute a clear violation of Brazil’s sovereignty.”
“This is completely outside the standard of confidence expected of a strategic partnership, as the US and Brazil have,” he added.
The Brazilian government decried the NSA activities revealed in the earlier reports. In July, Greenwald co-wrote articles, published in O Globo, claiming that some of the documents leaked by Snowden indicated that Brazil was the largest target for the NSA program in Latin America. According to Greenwald, the NSA collected its data through an undefined association between US and Brazilian telecommunications companies. However, the journalist said he couldn’t verify which Brazilian companies had been involved or if they were even aware that their networks were being used to collect the data for the NSA.
Last month Greenwald’s domestic partner, 28-year-old Brazilian citizen David Miranda, was detained for nine hours under Schedule 7 of the UK’s terrorism act when he arrived at Heathrow Airport in transit to Berlin, on his way to Rio de Janeiro. Electronic materials , including computers and memory sticks, were seized from him and he was threatened with prison if he did not cooperate. Miranda was traveling after visiting a US filmmaker Lauro Poitras, who has been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and The Guardian.
A security source told Reuters that Miranda’s detention was meant to send a message to those who received Snowden’s classified documents about how serious the UK is in trying to prevent further leaks. After the incident, Greenwald pledged he was going “to write much more aggressively than before”about government snooping. The US released a statement saying that British officials warned them about their decision to detain Miranda, although Washington denied its own involvement.
Deputy national security adviser in the UK Cabinet Office Oliver Robbins said that one file seized from Miranda included 58,000 “highly-classified UK intelligence documents,” some of them “highly likely to describe techniques crucial in life saving counter-terrorist operations.” Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger dismissed the statement as containing “unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims.”
“The detention of Miranda has rightly caused international dismay because it feeds into a perception that the US and UK governments – while claiming to welcome the debate around state surveillance started by Snowden – are also intent on stemming the tide of leaks and on pursuing the whistleblower with a vengeance. That perception is right,” Rusbridger wrote in his article  on August 19.
He also revealed that intelligence officials from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) demanded the return or destruction of files leaked by Snowden. UK authorities reportedly raided the Guardian’s office in London to destroy hard drives to stop future publications of leaks from the former NSA contractor. After Rusbridger refused to hand over the documents, government officials watched as computers which contained classified information passed on by Snowden were physically destroyed in one of the newspaper building’s basements.