By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, Sept 11 The White House tried on
Wednesday to smooth over a diplomatic row with Brazil, pledging
to address concerns caused by reports that the United States had
spied on President Dilma Rousseff and hacked into the computer
networks of state-run oil company Petrobras.
Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's national security
advisor, met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto
Figueiredo to discuss Brazil's questions about documents leaked
by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
"The United States is committed to working with Brazil to
address these concerns, while we continue to work together on a
shared agenda of bilateral, regional and global initiatives,"
said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National
Security Council, in a statement
Rice told Figueiredo that the United States understands why
Brazil is upset, and said some of the news reports from the
leaked information "have distorted our activities" but other
disclosures "raise legitimate questions for our friends and
allies about how these capabilities are employed," said Hayden.
Figueiredo had no comment on his meeting with Rice, a
spokesman at the Brazilian embassy said, but noted he would
remain overnight in Washington for further talks with the U.S.
government on Thursday.
Obama has been heavily criticized at home and abroad since
Snowden disclosed secret details about telephone and e-mail
information gathered by the NSA.
He has had to appease allies including Rousseff and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, and has pledged to improve oversight
of the surveillance programs to try to restore trust in the
system among Americans.
Rousseff met with Obama last week during the G20 summit in
Russia, and said she wanted to "know everything" about the NSA's
activities in Brazil.
Rousseff is scheduled to make a state visit to the White
House next month, but the furor in Brazil over the spying
revelations has prompted speculation she could cancel the trip.