Brazil defies US over NSA spying, summons ambassador

Brazil’s government summoned the United States ambassador on Monday to respond to new revelations of American surveillance of President Dilma Rousseff and her top aides, complicating relations between the countries ahead of Ms. Rousseff’s state visit to Washington next month.  “This would be an unacceptable violation to our sovereignty, involving our head of state,” José Eduardo Cardozo, Brazil’s justice minister, said in an interview. Mr. Cardozo said that Brazil had requested an explanation from Washington regarding the revelations, emphasizing that he had already proposed in meetings with American officials a legal accord regulating United States intelligence activities in Brazil.

The report, based on documents provided by the fugitive N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden to Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living in Brazil, described how the N.S.A. used different computer programs to filter through communications and gain access to specific e-mails, telephone calls and text messages of Ms. Rousseff’s top aides.

Washington has been seeking to enhance its ties with Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, by reaching out to Ms. Rousseff. Her government was already angered by previous revelations that Brazil ranked among the N.S.A.’s most spied-upon countries.

While Brazil maintains generally warm ties with the United States, resentment lingers over the repressive eavesdropping by the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985 and the support of the United States for the coup that brought the military to power.

American officials here were put on the defensive just weeks after Secretary of State John Kerry briefly visited Brazil in August in an effort to ease tension over earlier reports describing how the N.S.A. had established a data collection center in Brasília, among the strategies the N.S.A. is said to have used to delve into Brazil’s large telecommunications hubs.

Beyond condemning American spying practices, Brazil is taking other steps. For instance, Gen. Sinclair Mayer, who runs the Brazilian Army’s science and technology department, recently told lawmakers of a plan to establish underwater Internet cables linking Brazil to Europe and Africa, reflecting an effort to reroute Internet traffic now going through the United States.

Brazil also said in August that it had chosen a French-Italian venture to build a satellite for military and civilian use, part of a bid to ensure sovereignty of important communications.
The Brazilian authorities have also ordered Brazil’s Postal Service to develop a national e-mail system allowing users to exchange encrypted messages that would presumably be harder for intelligence agencies to monitor. The new system, scheduled to begin in 2014, is intended as an alternative to American services like Gmail and Hotmail.

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