Brazil President Dilma Rouseff, after revelations emerged last week that the NSA had been spying on her and her senior aides, has now learned that in all likelihood, the agency has also been spying on Petrobras, the largest company in the Southern Hemisphere by market capitalization and powerhouse of the Brazilian corporate world. According to Brazil’s Epoca, the charges, made on Brazilian TV program Fantastico and based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, appear to undermine claims by Washington that unlike China, the U.S. does not engage in trade-related espionage.
The Epoca news item says in part:
In a statement on Monday, President Dilma Rousseff said that if allegations are confirmed that the U.S. utilized its intelligence apparatus to obtain information from Petrobras, it will be clear that its motives are economic and strategic.
“If the facts presented in the media are confirmed, it will be clear that the reason for the attempted violations and espionage are not about security or counter-terrorism, but are related to economic and strategic interests.” The statement goes on to say that while Petrobras “without doubt” represents no threat to the security of any country, it happens to oversee one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world and is the property of the Brazilian people.
According to the Fantástico report, an NSA PowerPoint presentation used to train new agents shows that the agency spies on private computer networks, such as the one used by Petrobras. The name of the Brazilian company appears right at the beginning of the presentation. In addition to the company, targets are listed such as Google, the French diplomatic corps., and the SWIFT interbank network, which enables global financial transactions. It is not possible to determine how long Petrobras has been spied upon from the leaked document, nor what type of data the NSA accessed.”
According to O Globo, the NSA denies stealing information from foreign companies. The agency says it doesn’t spy on companies to obtain economic advantage for U.S. firms. The entity said that its surveillance of companies is used to access important information about potential economic crises.
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