Brazilian President Possibly Canceling US Visit, $4 Billion Fighter Jet Order Over NSA's Snooping

from the the-NSA:-taking-down-the-country-from-the-inside dept

The fallout from the leaked NSA documents is apparently neverending. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has canceled her advance team’s trip to Washington, DC. A high-ranking official stated the president was “furious” after information surfaced about the NSA’s actions via a report by Globo TV.

The Globo report that aired Sunday was based on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden to U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and worked with the network on the story. Most of Greenwald’s stories on the NSA program have been published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The report said the U.S. agency mapped out the aides with whom Rousseff communicated and tracked patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and also third parties, according to a June 2012 NSA document. Greenwald said the document, while not containing excerpts of Rousseff communications, made it clear that U.S. officials were reading her emails and text messages.

Rousseff had been extended a formal invitation by the administration to a “full state dinner,” the only such invitation handed out this year, but it appears the Brazilian president is unwilling to entertain the offer, thanks to the administration’s handling of the spying allegations.

[T]he official, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the episode, said Rousseff feels “patronized” by the U.S. response so far to the Globo report.

While it is common for state intelligence agencies to spy on other nations, the unwritten rule has always been, “don’t get caught.” Thanks to Snowden’s leaks, the NSA has broken this rule, albeit more out of internal carelessness that led to the documents’ escape, rather than through the carelessness of active agents.

The end result, however, is the same: another chilled international relationship and another one that the administration seems uninterested in rekindling. Rather than mend these fences, the administration seems to be putting more of its energy into playing defense.

But there’s more on the line than some national embarrassment. Once again, allegations of spying are hurting American businesses. Not only does it appear that Rousseff with stand up Obama at the state dinner, but it also looks like a $4 billion deal to purchase F-18 fighters might evaporate as well. This is in addition to other mutually-beneficial agreements revolving around biofuels and oil.

The administration may be playing it safe and attempting to downplay the NSA’s activities, but that only seems to be adding to the damage. As noted above, Rousseff felt “patronized” by the US government’s response to the allegations. Brazil’s Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo’s assessment of the written response provided by the administration is even harsher.

Bernardo… said Brazil had yet to receive any “reasonable” explanation from the United States.

“All of the explanations that have been given to us from the beginning of these episodes have proven to be false,” Bernardo said. “I think it’s indiscriminate spying that has nothing to do with national security … It’s espionage with a commercial, industrial aim.”

And that’s the crux of the problem with the administration’s response to these leaks. Rather than address the fact that many people feel violated by the surveillance, it instead doles out talking points about targeting, oversight, legality and security, when not issuing denials that are swiftly proven false. There’s very little attempt to discuss the what bothers people about the NSA’s actions — the “why.” Justification for these programs is always delivered in meaningless buzzwords and assertions that the NSA’s activities are all very tightly controlled are delivered in words that have been stripped of their meaning by high-ranking intelligence officials.

It’s not just Brazil that feels “patronized” by this “don’t worry about it — it’s for your own good and it’s all legal” treatment. It’s everyone. While it may be the accepted m.o. for national intelligence agencies to play spy vs. spy, it’s quite another to find out you’ve been directly targeted, no matter what your position, especially if you head a country that isn’t directly antagonistic to the United States.

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Comments on “Brazilian President Possibly Canceling US Visit, $4 Billion Fighter Jet Order Over NSA's Snooping”

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Anonymous Coward says:

See, this is why Snowden actually went too far. This was foreign communication, and it’s not outside the scope of the NSA to collect this information.

He did us all a huge service by documenting their overreaches, but he should have stopped there. We don’t need to know every foreign government that we’ve been spying on.

wto605 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m not sure they have one that is officially defined (and if they did they would certainly exceed it) but I’m pretty sure our resources would be better used to track our actual enemies… since we’re selling them F16s clearly we aren’t too worried about an attack from the Brazilian government. If the claim that it is for industrial purposes were to be true I would be (and I think we have every right to be) livid that a massive and secret black budget is going towards such purposes.

Anonymous Coward says:

There was a ridiculous article posted a few articles back about a US judge giving a 30 day sentence for rape. The ridiculous part comes from the fact that rape is not defined by dictionary but by local law and as such a man taking a leek on the side of the road is engaged in rape in some jurisdictions if a child could possible(sight not required)see the act. This is a normal procedure under US law to amply penalties for simple repulsive social acts. North Korea not to be out done by the US shot 11 people over the following sex tape. Note the North Korean definition of sex tape is not inline with any western countries definition.

Chinese Internet Users Say This Completely Innocuous Video Is The ‘Sex Tape’ That Got Kim Jong-Un’s Ex Killed

Anonymous Coward says:

The NSA scandal is a wake up call.

Every time you let others do things for you, you better be prepared son to take over at any minute because of some wrong doing else you are screwed.


How many in the US are totally dependent on the US healthcare system and other entitlement projects?

On a national level this is exactly why, Europe, Russia and China are all developing their own GPS systems, this is why no country in their right mind allows foreigners to buy a lot of their land to plant things. This is basically why the US has shunned Hauwei, although it seems a bit foolish since all other aspects of production happens there, but there are American factories that could take up production of vital components if the needs arise.

Brazilian Guy says:

Re: Re:

Well, it is a rare coincidence, but the current US ambassador to Brazil was being transfered to Turkey, in a move aproved since last january. Well get US ambassador to Paraguay’s in his place.

A fact that the international press may not be referencing, is that the Brazilian President Dilma Roussef was an active insurgent against the Military Regime through the 70’s, having participated of an armed group although not being directly involved in armed actions, and having been a prisioner of the regime for almost 3 years, including being tortured for over 20 days. While she may look quite the meek old lady, she gets very angry whenever someone tries to downplay the actions of the military regime back then. I suppose being spied by the US must be touching a lot of exposed nerves for her.

On the other side, maybe this ten year long story of brazilian acquisition of fighter jets (first the project F-X, and now the F-X2) can finally be resolved. The US tried to make pressure for Brazil to buy the F16 initialy, were refused, and somehow they managed to arrange the inclusion of the F-18 in the considerations. Either the Rafale or the Gripen would give Brazil better transference of tech and conditions of autonomous support and development than the F-18, due to American vetoes to who we can sell the future plane we manufacture (this negotiation includes production licences and tech transfer). Maybe they bring back the Su-35 to consideration, that would be very nice – it would be either be a toss between the Rafale F-3 or the Sukhov 35.

relghuar says:

For real???

Honestly, I don’t get this.
I understand completely the US citizens might be upset to find out they’re being spied upon by their own government. That makes complete sense.
But, foreign officials angry about being spied on by US secret agency who’s SOLE PURPOSE is to gather intelligence on anything outside US?? What the #$%* did they expect??

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For real???

National SECURITY Agency. I don’t think allies of the US really expect to be spied on. Particularly when we’re talking about ALL communications not just work/diplomacy related.

Also the US is still being incredibly racist. If you’re not a American then we get all your data is slightly prejudiced, no?

nasch (profile) says:


Rather than address the fact that many people feel violated by the surveillance, it instead doles out talking points about targeting, oversight, legality and security, when not issuing denials that are swiftly proven false. There’s very little attempt to discuss the what bothers people about the NSA’s actions — the “why.”

That’s because the only legitimate response would be to admit wrongdoing and start to plan who gets fired and who gets prosecuted. Since they’re not willing to do that, they can’t address the concerns.

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