NSA and Big Oil spy on national oil company of Brazil

The National Security Agency spied on Petrobras, Brazil’s giant national oil company, according to a report here on Sunday night by the Globo television network, in the latest revelation of the agency’s surveillance methods that have raised tension between Brazil and the United States.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/world/americas/nsa-spied-on-brazilian-oil-company-report-says.html?ref=world  The company is controlled by Brazil’s government and ranks among the world’s largest oil producers. Petrobras figured among other prominent N.S.A. targets, including Google; the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, a consortium based in Belgium that aims to allow banks around the world to securely exchange financial information; and France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It was the latest in a series of reports here in which Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living in Rio de Janeiro who is working with Globo, has shed light on N.S.A. activities in Latin America from documents given to him by Mr. Snowden.

In a statement issued after the Globo report was aired, James R. Clapper, the Obama administration’s director of national intelligence, said that it was no secret that the United States government collected intelligence about financial matters. Mr. Clapper said that doing so was needed to gather insight into the economic policies of other countries.

Globo acknowledged in its report that it was unclear what information the N.S.A. was seeking by spying on Petrobras, but the television network emphasized that the company controlled vast quantities of data on Brazil’s offshore oil fields. Brazil is planning to auction exploration licenses in October that would allow foreign oil companies to form ventures with Petrobras to explore for oil in deep-sea areas.

While Petrobras still wields by far the most influence in Brazil’s oil industry, American, Chinese and European energy companies have been seeking to expand here.

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