Brazil, which has been sharply critical of U.S. spy operations, admitted it spied on diplomats from numerous countries including the United States, Russia, and Iran, the New York Times reported
The surveillance was conducted “in absolute compliance” with the law, according to the International Security Cabinet, which is responsible for monitoring Brazilian intelligence operations.
Brazil acknowledged conducting the surveillance following a report in the Portugese-language newspaper Folha de São Paulo which said that the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) had photographed and conducted surveillance on foreign diplomats.
The surveillance was modest when compared with the eavesdropping activities of the National Security Agency (NSA). But the revelations put Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff — who denounced U.S. eavesdropping and postponed a state visit to Washington after reports of NSA spying on Brazilian targets — in an awkward position.
With regard to the Folha de Sao Paolo report, Brazilian intelligence officials warned that it is illegal to disclose classified material and that those who do so would be held accountable.
The Moscow Times reported
that Brazilian spies monitored Russian officials for fear that Moscow would engage in espionage as it worked to become a major weapons supplier to the South American nation.
During a recent visit to Brazil, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu privately told Brazilian officials that he backed Rousseff in her anger over U.S. spying allegations.
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