Brazil’s Moment of Hypocrisy: They Spied on Allies Too

A new report showing that Brazil spied on the U.S. comes to light, less than two months after Brazil criticized the U.S. for spying on Brazil.

President Obama meets with Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rouseff on March 19, 2011.
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Nov. 4, 2013, 10:24 a.m.

After spend­ing weeks lam­bast­ing the United States for its re­por­ted sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tions, Brazil on Monday ac­know­ledged that it too spied on dip­lo­mats from coun­tries around the world — in­clud­ing those from the U.S.

The Brazili­an In­tel­li­gence Agency mon­itored com­mer­cial prop­erty leased by the U.S. in the cap­it­al city of Bra­sil­ia, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times. Ad­di­tion­ally, agency per­son­nel fol­lowed Ir­a­ni­an and Rus­si­an dip­lo­mats by foot and by car, pho­to­graph­ing their activ­it­ies. Brazil de­fen­ded its spy­ing prac­tices as a pro­tec­tion of “na­tion­al in­terests.”

The scope of the sur­veil­lance out­lined in the Brazili­an news­pa­per Folha de São Paulo does, however, pale in com­par­is­on with the re­por­ted op­er­a­tions of the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency.

The re­la­tion­ship between the U.S. and Brazil has been strained in the last couple of months after re­ports came out that the NSA spied on Brazili­an Pres­id­ent Dilma Rouseff and her aides. Rouseff even can­celed a state diner to the U.S. in Septem­ber over the rev­el­a­tions, and has since ex­pressed pub­lic out­rage at the U.S. and its al­lies for its spy­ing prac­tices.

In fact, many of the na­tions that have cri­ti­cized the U.S. for its sur­veil­lance activ­it­ies have spy­ing pro­grams of their own, and have spied on al­lies — the U.S. in­cluded.

Monday’s re­port only con­firms what U.S. of­fi­cials have said for weeks: Even as many of these coun­tries loudly cri­ti­cize Amer­ic­an sur­veil­lance, it’s com­mon prac­tice in those coun­tries to spy on al­lies.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.