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The Brazilian Senate is probing claims the NSA monitored emails and intercepted phone calls of President Dilma Rousseff and several of her top aides.
Brazil’s lawmakers said they want to discuss the revelations with Snowden, whose documents indicated that Brazil was one of the prime targets of Washington’s global surveillance program.
Rio de Janeiro-based Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda are key witnesses in the Senate investigation.
Greenwald had obtained documents from Snowden which revealed that the NSA’s operation was “to improve understanding of the methods of communication and the interlocutors of the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and her top aides.”
Brazil has warned that recent revelations about the NSA spying on Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, which has discovered some of the world’s biggest oil reserves in recent years, indicate the true objective is “economic espionage”.
These charges if proved, contradict the US president’s claims made earlier that the NSA spying program was “to protect our people…protect our allies”.
“Petrobras does not represent a threat to the security of any country. It represents, however, one of the world’s largest oil assets and a patrimony of the Brazilian people,” said Rousseff in a recent official statement.
Brazilian officials have said Petrobras’ newly discovered off-shore oil reserves are at the root of the US spying on Latin America’s biggest economy.
“When the country is more independent and stronger, as is Brazil, and because it’s competing with the United States and American companies, the US government is thinking differently about Brazil,” echoed Greenwald.
In October, Brazil is set to open the bidding on its Libra oilfield, estimated to have reserves of 15 billion barrels of oil, doubling Brazil’s current known reserves.
Petrobras’ former Director Roberto Villa said in a recent interview that if data collected by Petrobras was leaked to one or more companies, those firms would have an illegal advantage in the bidding process.
Rousseff has suggested she may cancel her scheduled trip to Washington in October if she receives no satisfactory reply.
“My trip to Washington depends on the political conditions to be created by President Obama,” she said.
The two sides were to discuss a possible $4 billion jet-fighter deal, cooperation on oil and bio-fuels technology, as well as other commercial agreements during the trip.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo met US National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Washington, even as he stressed that explanations given by the US till now were insufficient.
“The United States is committed to working with Brazil to address these concerns, while we continue to work together on a shared agenda of bilateral, regional and global initiatives,” read a White House statement after the meet.