Despite earlier US assurances that its Department of Defense does not
“engage in economic espionage in any domain,” a new report suggests
that the intelligence agency NSA spied on Brazilian state-run oil giant
Brazil's biggest television network Globo TV reported that the
information about the NSA spying on Petroleo Brasileiro SA came
from Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published
secrets leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Globo TV aired slides from an NSA presentation from 2012 that
revealed the agency’s ability to gain access to private networks
of companies such as Petrobras and Google Inc.
One slide specified an ‘economic’ motive for spying, along with
diplomatic and political reasons.
This seems to contradict a statement made by an NSA spokesman to
the Washington Post on August 30, which said that the US
Department of Defense “does not engage in economic espionage
in any domain, including cyber.”
An official from the NSA told Globo that the agency gathers
economic information not to steal secrets, but to watch for
Petrobras is known to have discovered some of the world's biggest
offshore oil reserves in recent years.
Some of the new reserves are estimated to be around as 100
billion barrels of oil, according to Rio de Janeiro State
None of the leaked slides went into the reasons behind the NSA
spying on the Brazilian firm.
The US spy agency then reportedly shared the gathered information
with the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The new report about US spying on Brazil could intensify the
already existing tensions between Brazil and US.
The relationship between the two countries became tense as Globo
reported about allegations that NSA has intercepted private
communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and her
Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto.
Brazil responded by canceling preparations for the presidential
visit to the United States and beginning a probe into
telecommunications companies to see if they illegally shared data
with the NSA. Also, Brazil has asked for a formal apology.
During the G20 summit US tried to address the issue by US
President Barack Obama pledging to work with Brazil and Mexico to
address their concerns over US spying revealed in recent NSA