By Paulo Prada and Asher Levine
RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, Sept 8 The U.S.
government tapped into computer networks of companies including
Google Inc. and Brazilian state-run oil firm Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, according to leaked U.S. documents
aired by Globo, Brazil's biggest television network.
A week after it broadcast a report that the U.S. National
Security Agency spied on the presidents of Brazil and Mexico,
Globo said the agency had also spied on major companies.
It showed slides from an NSA presentation, dated May 2012,
that it said was used to show new agents how to spy on private
In addition to Google and Petrobras the presentation
suggested the NSA had tapped into systems operated by France's
foreign ministry and the Society for Worldwide Interbank
Financial Telecommunication, an international bank cooperative
known as Swift, through which many international financial
transactions take place.
The report did not say when the alleged spying took place,
what data might have been gathered or what exactly the agency
may have been seeking.
As with its previous report, Globo disclosed the information
in coordination with Glenn Greenwald, an American blogger and
journalist for the Guardian newspaper, who has worked with
former NSA analyst Edward Snowden to expose the extent of U.S.
spying at home and abroad.
During an interview in the Globo broadcast, Greenwald said
the documents he obtained from Snowden contain "much more
information on spying on innocents, against people who have
nothing to do with terrorism, or on industrial issues, which
need to be made public."
In an email exchange with Reuters, Greenwald declined to
discuss the report further.
Petrobras, which has made some of the world's biggest oil
finds in recent years, did not respond to requests for comment
on Sunday. Spokespeople for Swift and Google couldn't be reached
for comment. Officials at the French embassy in Brazil also
could not be reached.
James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence,
said U.S. agencies do collect information about economic and
financial matters and that it is used to combat terrorist
financing and predict problems that could lead to financial
crises or disrupt financial markets.
"What we do not do," Clapper said in a statement, "is use
our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets
of foreign companies on behalf of - or give intelligence we
collect to - U.S. companies to enhance their international
competitiveness or increase their bottom line."
Especially before the Snowden revelations began three months
ago, U.S. officials regularly accused China of stealing trade
secrets from Western countries, including oil and gas firms.
At the very least, revelations of U.S. spying on Petrobras
are likely to further complicate the tension between the United
States and Brazil over allegations that the NSA spied on the
private phone calls and emails of Brazilian President Dilma
Brazil has demanded a formal apology and Rousseff aides have
said the issue could derail a state visit she is due to make to
the United States in October.
The tensions led to an impromptu meeting between Rousseff
and U.S. President Barack Obama last week at the G20 meeting in
Russia. Obama said he would investigate the allegations.
Any spying on Petrobras is sure to raise hackles in Brazil,
which has long been suspicious of foreign designs on its
abundant natural resources.
U.S. officials, including Obama on a 2011 trip to Brazil and
Vice President Joe Biden during a visit in June, have cited the
importance of Brazil's big new oil finds and flagged intentions
to work closely with the country for future energy needs.
Brazil's so-called sub-salt polygon, where many of the new
finds have been discovered, may contain as much as 100 billion
barrels of oil, according to Rio de Janeiro State University.
One find alone, the giant Libra field, has estimated reserves of
up to 12 billion barrels of oil, or enough to supply all U.S.
oil needs for nearly two years.