Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, crisply demanded an explanation on Monday from Canada over revelations that a Canadian intelligence agency had spied on Brazil’s mining and energy ministry and a top Brazilian diplomat, a development contributing to festering resentment in Brazil over the targeting of the nation by foreign intelligence agencies.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/world/americas/brazil-leader-asks-canada-to-explain-its-spying.html Ms. Rousseff called the spying “unacceptable between countries that are supposed to be partners,”Her government summoned the Canadian ambassador in Brazil, Jamal Khokhar, to respond to the news report describing the Canadian surveillance, which was broadcast Sunday night on the Globo television network. The report fueled speculation from senior Brazilian officials and Ms. Rousseff herself that the spying may have involved efforts to obtain information for Canadian mining companies, instead of focusing on security threats.
The report, based on documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor for the United States’ National Security Agency, to Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living in Brazil, showed how the Canadian agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, targeted the cellular and electronic communications of personnel within Brazil’s mining and energy ministry.
According to the Globo report, the Canadian agency also monitored the telephone communications of Brazil’s former ambassador to Canada, Paulo Cordeiro de Andrade Pinto, now an under secretary in Brazil’s Foreign Ministry for Africa and the Middle East, and recommended cooperating with the N.S.A.
The information about Canada’s surveillance activities comes after months of revelations of the N.S.A.’s spying on Brazilian targets, including Ms. Rousseff, her top aides and Petrobras, the national oil company. Disappointed with American explanations of the spying, Ms. Rousseff recently postponed a state visit to Washington that had been scheduled to take place this month.
Publicly at least, Brazil’s call for an explanation was met by silence in Canada.
While there was little criticism from politicians and prominent Canadians about the eavesdropping, there did seem to be some confusion about why Brazil would have been a target.
Like those of the N.S.A., most of the Communications Security Establishment’s activities are shielded from public view. Founded during World War II, it operated under secret cabinet orders until its role was clarified under antiterrorism legislation introduced in late 2001.
The agency has a budget of about $442 million a year and a sweeping mandate that allows it to acquire “foreign intelligence” that may be of use to Canada. While technically part of the Canadian military, it works closely with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Canada most likely was processing data from Brazil that was captured by the N.S.A. through the Five Eyes security alliance that includes Britain, New Zealand and Australia.