Bugging Brazil

WikiLeaks publishes today, 4 July at 08:00 BRT, a top secret US National Security Agency target list of 29 key Brazilian government phone numbers that were selected for intensive interception. The publication proves that not only President Dilma Rousseff was targeted but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her Palace office and even the phone in her Presidential jet. The US targeted not only those closest to the President, but waged an economic espionage campaign against Brazil, spying on those responsible for managing Brazil’s economy, including the head of its Central Bank. The US also extensively targeted Brazil’s diplomacy, targeting the phones of its Foreign Minister and its ambassadors to Germany, France, the EU, the US and Geneva.

The economic targets within Brazil’s government include its key Finance Ministers and even a head at the Brazilian Central Bank. Cabinet Minister Nelson Henrique Barbosa Filho, who served as Executive Secretary at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance from 2011 to 2013 and who is now Minister of Planning, Budget and Management is on the target list, as is Antonio Palocci, Minister of Finance under former President Lula and formerly Dilma’s Chief of Staff.

The revelation of US economic espionage against Brazil follows WikiLeaks publications earlier this week revealing US economic espionage against France, Germany and the EU.

The cell phone of Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, former Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2015 and current Brazilian Ambassador to the US, appointed by President Rousseff, was targeted, as was the phone for Adriana Queirzo de Carvalho, Attorney General for the Finance Ministry.

Even on her official travels, President Rousseff is not safe from interception as the target list includes the Inmarsat satellite phone service for the President’s jet.

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said:

Our publication today shows the US has a long way to go to prove its dragnet surveillance on ‘friendly’ governments is over. The US has not just been targeting President Rousseff but the key figures she talks to every day. Even if US assurances of ceasing its targeting of President Rousseff could be trusted, which they cannot, it is fanciful to imagine that President Rousseff can run Brazil by talking to herself all day. If President Rousseff wants to see more US investment in Brazil on the back of her recent trip as she claims, how can she assure Brazilian companies that their US counterparts will not have an advantage provided by this surveillance, until she can really guarantee the spying has stopped – not just on her, but on all Brazilian issues.

The Brazilian target list adds to the previous publications by WikiLeaks that show systematic US targeting on the highest officials, including three French Presidents and the current Chancellor of Germany, the French and German economics ministries, the EU Central Bank and a blanket effort against all significant French private industry.

Read the full list of NSA high priority targets for Brazil published today here.

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