BRASILIA – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Monday denounced U.S. spying on her country’s state oil company and said the targeting of Petrobras proved that Washington’s intelligence efforts go beyond legitimate security concerns.
The espionage is “incompatible with democratic coexistence between friendly countries,” she said in a statement.
The U.S. National Security Agency spied on Petrobras, Brazil’s TV Globo reported Sunday, citing documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The network’s flagship news magazine, “Fantastico,” showed an NSA training slide with the heading: “Many targets use private networks.”
Targets listed on the slide include Petrobras, Google, the French foreign ministry, and SWIFT, a provider of secure financial messaging services to institutions worldwide.
The appearance of Petrobras among surveillance targets “contradicts NSA’s affirmation that the spying does not have economic or commercial objectives,” TV Globo said.
The disclosure came a week after TV Globo said NSA intercepted telephone calls and e-mails of Rousseff and Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto.
Last week’s story was also based on documentation from Snowden, a former NSA contractor who has been working with Brazil-based U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald.
“There is no doubt that Petrobras represents no threat to the security of any country,” Rousseff said Monday. “What it does represent is one of the largest petroleum assets in the world and the patrimony of the Brazilian people.”
Besides demanding an explanation, Brazil will insist the U.S. government take “concrete steps that definitively exclude the possibility of espionage which violates human rights, our sovereignty and our economic interests,” she said.
Rousseff said last Friday that whether she makes a planned state visit to Washington next month depends on Barack Obama’s response to the revelations about NSA’s monitoring of her communications.
The U.S. president “committed himself to responding to the Brazilian government before next Wednesday,” Rousseff told the media at the conclusion of the G-20 economic summit in St. Petersburg.
The two heads of state met on the sidelines of the conference to discuss the spying.
“My journey to Washington depends on the political conditions President Obama creates,” Rousseff said in St. Petersburg.
When asked about the US-Brazil relationship that "seems to be going down the toilet" during question-time at the US State Department, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf responded that "Brazil and the United States obviously are partners, close global partners, as the recent trip of Secretary Kerry to Brazil demonstrated. We agree that our broader relationship remains vital and that we need to move forward on a host of issues – economic, diplomatic, others as well. So we’ll address any concerns, as we have said repeatedly, in diplomatic channels about reports of intelligence activities. But we obviously believe this is an important partnership and we’ll continue working with them."