Brazil cancels preparations for Rousseff US trip

Agence France-Presse
(UPDATED) President Dilma Rousseff cancelled preparations for a US visit amid a standoff with Washington over reports the Brazilian leader was a target of US electronic espionage

President Dilma Rouseff. Photo from AFP

BRASILIA, Brazil (UPDATED) – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has cancelled early preparations for a US visit, a spokeswoman said Thursday, September 5, amid a row with Washington over reports she was a target of US electronic espionage.

A spokeswoman for Rousseff said a trip by a Brazilian delegation to prepare for the president’s October 23 visit to Washington “was cancelled.”

The spokeswoman did not say why the trip was cancelled, but it comes after Brazil demanded explanations from Washington for reports that US intelligence spied on her communications.

US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who obtained files on US electronic surveillance programs from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, reported Sunday that the NSA was using a program to access all Internet content Rousseff visited online.

He told Globo television Sunday that the NSA was trying to better understand Rousseff’s methods of communication and interlocutors.

The NSA program allegedly allowed agents to access the entire communications network of the president and her staff, including telephone, Internet and social network exchanges, the Rio-based journalist said.

He said Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto was similarly targeted.

Both Brazil and Mexico summoned the US ambassadors in their respective countries to demand an explanation.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luis Figueiredo said the report, if proven, “represents and unacceptable and unallowable violation of Brazilian sovereignty.”

Pena Nieto, for his part, said he would raise the issue with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Russia.

Rousseff is also attending the G20 talks. –