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Brazilian Senate to probe NSA spying reports
September 4, 2013, 5:01 am

General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency [Getty Images]

General Keith Alexander, Director of the US National Security Agency [Getty Images]

Brazil and US ties have come under increasing strain as the Brazilian Senate formed an Investigative Parliamentary Commission Tuesday to probe reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on President Dilma Rousseff.

“We intend to protect national sovereignty,” said Senator Vanessa Graziotin, of the Communist Party of Brazil (CPB).

The committee comprises of 11 main members and seven substitutes.

The commission has been tasked with probing claims the NSA monitored emails and intercepted phone calls between Rousseff and several of her top aides within an initial timeline of 180 days.

The investigative period can be extended by another 180 days if the commission needs more time.

The members of the newly formed commission have already discussed the possibility of the state providing federal protection to Rio de Janeiro-based Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda, as key witnesses in the investigation.

Documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden by Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed in the programme that the NSA’s operation was “to improve understanding of the methods of communication and the interlocutors of the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and her top aides.”

Brazil said Monday it will discuss with its BRICS partners the reports about the United States spying on President Dilma Rousseff.

Washington has maintained that the spy program is designed to thwart terrorism, but Brazil says it suspects industrial espionage and has demanded an written official response from the U.S. government by Friday.

Rousseff is reportedly considering cancelling a scheduled trip to Washington next month if she receives no answer or an unsatisfactory explanation from the U.S. government.

“When the country is more independent and stronger, as is Brazil, and because it’s competing with the United States and American companies, the US government is thinking differently about Brazil,” said Greenwald.

Greenwald’s partner Miranda was recently detained at a London airport as he traveled from Germany to Brazil, and had his belongings confiscated.

British officials said they were operating under an anti-terror law, but Greenwald said he believed it was an attempt to intimidate.


Source: Agencies