U.S. spying to be probed by Brazil’s investigative committee
Newscast Media BRASILIA—Brazil’s Senate formed an Investigative Parliamentary
Commission this week to follow up on reports that the U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA) spied on President Dilma Rousseff.
“We intend to protect national sovereignty,” said Senator Vanessa Graziotin, of the
Communist Party of Brazil (CPB).
The committee, composed of 11 main members and seven substitutes, initially has
180 days to investigate claims the NSA monitored emails between Rousseff and
several of her top aides, and tapped her phone.
The investigative period can be extended by another 180 days if the commission
needs more time.
As the committee’s first order of business, members discussed the possibility of the
state providing federal protection for Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald
and his partner David Miranda, considering them to be key witnesses in the
Greenwald was the first to break the story of Washington’s global spying program,
based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden,
who is wanted by the U.S. on espionage charges for revealing the surveillance
scheme, has been given temporary asylum in Russia.
Miranda was recently interrogated for nine hours at London’s Heathrow airport as he
traveled from Germany to Brazil, and had his belongings confiscated. British officials
said they were operating under an anti-terror law, but Greenwald said he believed it
was an attempt to intimidate.
The Senate’s decision to open an investigation follows the broadcast Sunday of a
Brazilian television news program reporting the NSA spied on the highest levels of
Brazil’s government, even targeting the president.
That report was also based on documents leaked by Snowden and made public by
News of NSA spying on Brazil first broke in July, when Brazil’s O Globo daily published
articles alleging the agency had monitored digital communications and phone calls.
Washington has maintained that the spy program is designed to thwart terrorism, but
Brazil says it suspects industrial espionage and has demanded an written official
response from the U.S. government by Friday.
Rousseff is reportedly considering cancelling a scheduled trip to Washington next
month if she receives no answer or an unsatisfactory explanation from the U.S.