RIO DE JANEIRO, July 7 Brazil will demand an
explanation from the United States over report its citizens'
electronic communications have been under surveillance by U.S.
spy agencies for at least a decade, foreign minister Antonio
Patriota said on Sunday.
Patriota's remarks were in response to a report in the Globo
daily newspaper on Sunday saying that the U.S. National Security
Agency has been monitoring the telephone and e-mail activity of
Brazilian companies and individuals as part of U.S. espionage
The report cited documents obtained from U.S. fugitive
Edward Snowden, a former NSA intelligence contractor.
Patriota also said his government plans to propose changes
to international communications rules administered by the
Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union to improve
communications secrecy, the statement said. Brazil also plans to
present proposals to the United Nations to protect the privacy
of electronic communication.
"The Brazilian government is gravely concerned by the news
that electronic and telephone communications of Brazilian
citizens are the objective of espionage efforts by U.S.
intelligence agencies," a foreign ministry statement said.
The Globo report did not say how much traffic was monitored
by NSA computers and intelligence officials. But the article
pointed out that in the Americas, Brazil was second only to the
United States in the number of transmissions intercepted.
Brazil was a priority nation for the NSA communications
surveillance alongside China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, Globo
In the 10-year period, the NSA captured 2.3 billion phone
calls and messages in the United States and then used computers
to analyze them for signs of suspicious activity, the paper
said. In the United States, the NSA used legal but secret
warrants to compel communications companies to turn over
information about calls and emails for analysis.
Some access to Brazilian communications was obtained through
American companies that were partners with Brazilian
telecommunications companies, the paper reported, without
identifying the companies.
The Globo article was written by Glenn Greenwald, Roberto
Kaz and José Casado. Greenwald, an American who works for
Britain's Guardian newspaper and lives in Rio de Janeiro, was
the journalist who first revealed classified documents provided
by Snowden, outlining the extent of U.S. communications
monitoring activity at home and abroad.
After providing the information to Greenwald, Snowden fled
the United States for Hong Kong and was most recently seen in
the transit area of the Moscow airport.
Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked. He has made asylum
requests to several countries, including Ecuador, Venezuela and
Bolivia. Three countries - Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua -
have offered to give Snowden asylum.