| RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 10
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 10 President Dilma Rousseff
is eager to end a diplomatic crisis with Washington over
revelations the National Security Agency spied on her and other
Brazilians, but first she wants protection against additional
leaks that could embarrass her government, a senior Brazilian
official told Reuters.
A steady stream of news reports since July, based on
documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have
detailed how the United States spied on a wide range of
commercial and governmental targets in Brazil.
While many countries have been named as targets in the
Snowden documents, the revelations have been especially
sensitive here because Rousseff, a moderate leftist, is due on
Oct. 23 to make the first formal state visit to the White House
by a Brazilian leader in nearly two decades.
The visit, the only event of its kind planned in Washington
this year, was intended to highlight warming ties between the
two largest economies in the Americas. It was also meant to
serve as a platform for a range of deals in biofuels, oil, and a
potential Brazilian purchase of fighter jets from Chicago-based
Despite angrily condemning the U.S. espionage as recently as
Monday, Rousseff hopes to "end this mess" as soon as possible
and go ahead with the visit to Washington, the official said on
condition of anonymity.
However, she also fears further revelations in coming weeks
that could increase criticism at home, especially from the left
wing of her own party, that she is not taking a hard enough
stance against Washington, the official said.
Therefore, she wants President Barack Obama's administration
to immediately make a full and public disclosure regarding the
extent of U.S. spying in Brazil, the official added.
"We can't be held hostage by these reports that are coming
out every week from Snowden," the official said. "The only
solution is for them to say how far (the spying) went, and
explain why they did it."
Rousseff met with Obama on the sidelines of an international
summit in Russia for about 45 minutes last week, and she said
afterward that Obama had agreed to provide a full account of the
NSA spying by Wednesday.
"I want to know everything," Rousseff told reporters before
returning to Brazil on Friday.
Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo was scheduled to
meet in Washington on Wednesday with Obama's national security
adviser, Susan Rice, to receive the U.S. response.
It is unclear whether the Obama administration will be
willing, or able, to provide a wide-ranging enough response to
please Rousseff, said João Augusto de Castro Neves, a
Washington-based analyst for the Eurasia Group think tank.
"I'm not even sure (the White House) knows the amount of
information they have on Brazil," he said. "Rousseff obviously
wishes this would all blow over in time for her to come to
Washington, but I don't know if she'll get what she wants."
Obama has not apologized for NSA spying on Brazil or other
U.S. allies, but he did acknowledge Friday that Washington
needed to "step back and review what it is that we're doing."
ROUSSEFF'S POPULARITY TUMBLES
Revelations of NSA spying have now rocked Brazil on two
consecutive Sunday nights.
The vehicle has been the Globo TV news program "Fantastico,"
with collaboration from U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro and has published several
reports based on Snowden's files.
The latest "Fantastico" report said the NSA spied on
Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras. Rousseff
issued a sharp statement on Monday calling such espionage
"manifestly illegitimate" because it did not fall under the
umbrella of terrorism or U.S. national security concerns.
Many pundits and politicians from Brazil's left, which has
traditionally distrusted Washington, have slammed Rousseff for
not canceling the trip.
"Afraid of reacting in a heavy-handed way, (Rousseff) is
humiliating herself," Mario Magalhães, a popular blogger for
website UOL, wrote on Monday.
"It could be worse: Let's imagine, on the day of her arrival
in Washington, yet another scoop from Glenn Greenwald, showing
new aspects of NSA abuse. The unwritten message would be: Do
what you want with Brazil, because we were born with submissive
DNA," Magalhães wrote.
The criticism was especially stinging in the wake of
anti-government street protests that swept Brazil in June.
Rousseff's popularity tumbled after the demonstrations, and she
will likely face strong challenges in her expected re-election
bid next year.
However, some officials in both Brasilia and Washington
privately expressed relief the latest report wasn't more
damaging. Petrobras was one of several companies or
organizations named as an espionage target in an NSA document,
and "Fantastico" did not say precisely what data was gleaned or
what it was used for.
Castro Neves said that if the most embarrassing revelations
have already been aired out, then Rousseff "will probably be
able to go to Washington."