|Follow us on:|
Clinton was on a short visit to Brazil on Monday to participate in an event organised by his Clinton Global Initiative in Rio de Janeiro.
In an interview published by Brazilian daily O Globo, Clinton criticised the massive surveillance program Washington carried out in the Latin American nation.
Brazil was one of the countries of most interest for US intelligence agencies, apart from Russia, Iran and China, according to the National Security Agency leaks.
The US has no justification for the espionage on Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and the country’s state-run oil giant Petrobras as well as on emails and telephone calls of millions of Brazilians, said the former US president.
“We should not be getting economic information under the pretext of security. Not with an ally,” Clinton said.
He said electronic surveillance can be used to track suspects of terrorism, and in the US, the government is only allowed to carry out surveillance to find patterns.
The content of emails and calls is only monitored when a person has frequent contact with suspects of terrorism, and even so, it requires a court order, he said.
Clinton admitted there had been “a lack of transparency” in explaining US government policy on surveillance.
President Rousseff had earlier warned the US that there will be a “growing reaction” from countries targeted by the spying scandal.
The “right to privacy” resolution, drafted by Brazil and Germany, was passed by the UN rights committee last month.
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first reported on the Snowden leaks, has echoed Rousseff’s charges of it being “economic espionage”.
“None of this has to do with terrorism,” he said in an interview to CNN recently.
“Is Angela Merkel a terrorist? Are 60 or 70 million Spanish or French citizens terrorists? This is clearly about political power and economic espionage and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen for what it is all around the world, which is pure deceit.”