Tags: petrobras | nsa | taps | oil | brazil

Petrobras, Brazilian Oil Company, Tapped for Info by NSA: Reports

Image: Petrobras, Brazilian Oil Company, Tapped for Info by NSA: Reports

Monday, 09 Sep 2013 12:47 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company, has reportedly had its computer networks tapped into, along with those of Google, by the U.S.'s National Security Agency, according to published reports.

The revelation was made by Globo TV, Brazil's biggest television network, which recently aired leaked U.S. documents courtesy of American blogger and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is known for his work with former NSA analyst and leaker Edward Snowden.

The news comes one week after it was learned that the U.S. had, via the NSA, spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, putting further strain on the U.S.'s relationship with its neighbors to the south.

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In the broadcast, Globo TV presented slides from an NSA presentation dated May 2012 that showed new agents how to spy on private computer networks providing tapping examples involving Google and Petrobras.

In addition, the presentation suggested the NSA had tapped into systems operated by France's foreign ministry and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, an international bank cooperative known as Swift, through which many international financial transactions take place, Reuters reported.

Globo TV's report did not disclose when the alleged spying occurred or what information, if any, was obtained. Nor did it provide what information the NSA was seeking with its alleged incursions into the networks mentioned above.

Founded in 1953, Petrobras is a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro that has in recent years made some of the world's biggest oil finds, with a daily output of more than 2 million barrels of oil.

Greenwald, who recently said the U.S. and Britain would be "sorry" after his partner, David Miranda, who is Brazilian, was detained for nine hours in London's Heathrow airport, spoke to Globo TV about the documents.

During the interview, Greenwald said the documents he obtained from Snowden contain "much more information on spying on innocents, against people who have nothing to do with terrorism, or on industrial issues, which need to be made public," Reuters reported.

Greenwald, who was born in New York City but reportedly spends most of his time in Rio de Janeiro, refused to provide further information about the documents to Reuters which reached out to the blogger via email.

Petrobras also did not respond to media inquiries, while spokespeople for Swift and Google couldn't be reached for comment, Reuters reported.

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. responded to the reports in a statement, saying that "it is not a secret" that the intelligence community collects information "about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing," The Washington Post reported.

"What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies," Clapper added.

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Speaking in general about revelations of U.S. spying in Brazil, Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based think tank ­Inter-American Dialogue, told The Post that "The revelations suggest that the U.S. went way too far, beyond any reasonable justification of containing security threats."

"Such an overreach is disrespectful and has touched a real nerve in Brazil, a country that prizes its sovereignty and is understandably sensitive about such abuses," Shifter added.

Brazil has demanded a formal apology and Rousseff aides have said the issue could derail a state visit she is due to make to the United States in October.

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