On the heels of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the United States, Wikileaks Saturday revealed what it called details of the U.S. National Security Agency’s efforts to spy on Brazil. The website says the information gathering included surveillance on Rousseff’s presidential plane as well as the cell phones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and finance officials.
The Wikileaks release was published at 8:00 BRT (7:00 a.m. EDT) and included “a top secret NSA target list of 29 key Brazilian government phone numbers that were selected for intensive interception.”
“The publication proves that not only President Dilma Rousseff was targeted but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her Palace office and even the phone in her Presidential jet,” said a release from Wikileaks accompanying the information. “The US targeted not only those closest to the President, but waged an economic espionage campaign against Brazil, spying on those responsible for managing Brazil's economy, including the head of its Central Bank.”
Wikileaks’ findings were also published by The Intercept, a website led by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on previous releases as well as the film Citizenfour, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2014.
Saturday’s release includes alleged spying on key finance ministers as well as Cabinet Minister Nelson Henrique Barbosa Filho, who served as executive secretary at Brazil's Ministry of Finance from 2011 to 2013 and who is now minister of planning, budget and management; Antonio Palocci, Rousseff’s chief of staff who served as minister of finance under former President Lula da Silva and is now Dilma's chief of staff; and the governor of the Brazilian Central Bank.
The release follows WikiLeaks publications earlier this week that purportedly detail U.S. economic espionage against France, Germany and the European Union.
"Our publication today shows the U.S. has a long way to go to prove its dragnet surveillance on 'friendly' governments is over,” said Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. “The US has not just been targeting President Rouseff but the key figures she talks to every day. Even if US assurances of ceasing its targeting of President Rousseff could be trusted, which they cannot, it is fanciful to imagine that President Rousseff can run Brazil by talking to herself all day. If President Rousseff wants to see more US investment in Brazil on the back of her recent trip, as she claims, how can she assure Brazilian companies that their US counterparts will not have an advantage provided by this surveillance, until she can really guarantee the spying has stopped -- not just on her, but on all Brazilian issues."
The full list of Wikileaks' alleged NSA high-priority targets for Brazil is published here.