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National Security Agency spied on U.S. allies Brazil, Mexico

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United States has always enjoyed very good relations with its neighbor to the south, Mexico, and the South American powerhouse nation of Brazil. That's why new revelations that the National Security Agency - already in hot water for spying on U.S. civilians, infiltrated both Mexico and Brazil's communications, is especially disconcerting.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The government of Brazil says it will demand an explanation from the U.S. after allegations the NSA spied on Brazilian government communications. These allegations were made by Rio-based journalist Glenn Greenwald in a program on TV Globo this past weekend. Greenwald had allegedly obtained secret files from U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that communications from the Mexican president were also accessed by the NSA, Greenwald said.

U.S. ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon was briefly summoned to the Brazilian foreign ministry, "to explain" these recent claims. Shannon didn't speak to reporters when he left. There have been no comments from the foreign ministry, either.

Greenwald, a columnist for the British Guardian newspaper, told TV reporters that secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden demonstrated how U.S. agents had spied on communications between aides of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil's Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said that "if these facts prove to be true, it would be unacceptable and could be called an attack on our country's sovereignty."

The NSA also used a program to access all Internet content that Rousseff visited online. Her office said the president was meeting top ministers to discuss the case.

Brazil, the size of the continental United States and an emerging industrial superpower is seen as a big player with lots of commercial interests involved. The BBC's Julia Carneiro in Sao Paulo offered this as an explanation for recent U.S. spy activity.

The report also alleges that the NSA monitored the communications of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, -- even before he was elected in July last year. Greenwald said that a document dating from June 2012 showed that Pena Nieto's emails were being read.

A spokesman for the Mexican foreign ministry said that he had seen the report, but declined to comment.

The documents were provided to Greenwald by ex-U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia after leaking secret information to media in the U.S. and Britain.

Greenwald was the first journalist to reveal the secret documents leaked by Snowden in early June. Since then, he has written a series of stories about surveillance by U.S. and U.K. authorities.

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