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Monday, January 21, 2019

Brazil, Mexico Summon U.S. Envoys Over Spy Claims

BRASILIA (AFP) – Brazil and Mexico demanded explanations from the United States over allegations that the National Security Agency spied on the communications of their presidents.

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Luis Figueiredo on Monday said the interception of Internet data from President Dilma Rousseff reported by US journalist Glenn Greenwald, if proven, “represents an unacceptable and unallowable violation of Brazilian sovereignty.”

In Mexico, the foreign ministry said it sent a diplomatic note to Washington calling for an “exhaustive investigation” into claims that the NSA spied on President Enrique Pena Nieto’s emails before his election last year.

Mexico warned that, if true, the snooping would be a “violation of international rights” and that it “rejects and condemns any espionage work on Mexican citizens.”

Both governments summoned the US ambassadors to their countries, though the envoy to Mexico was out of the country on Monday.

A State Department official sought to downplay concerns, saying that “while we are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”

The claims reported by Greenwald, who obtained secret files from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, follow allegations of widespread US electronic espionage in Latin America that angered the region’s leaders.

The report emerged as Rousseff and Pena Nieto, who lead Latin America’s two biggest economies, prepare to travel to Russia later this week for a Group of 20 summit during which they will see US President Barack Obama.

Rousseff is also scheduled to visit Washington in October, five months after Obama visited Pena Nieto in Mexico.

Citing a June 2012 NSA document, Greenwald told Globo television on Sunday that the agency was trying to better understand Rousseff’s methods of communication and interlocutors using a program to access all Internet content she visited online.

The NSA program allegedly allowed agents to access the entire communications network of the president and her staff, including telephone, Internet and social network exchanges, the Rio-based journalist said.

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