United Nations, Sep 25: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Tuesday slammed the US for “meddling” in her country’s affairs by widespread espionage.
“Recent revelations concerning the activities of a global network of electronic espionage have caused indignation and repudiation in public opinion around the world,” she was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The Brazilian president made the statement while speaking at the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly. She took the podium just before US President Barack Obama.
“In Brazil, the situation was even more serious, as it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion,” Rousseff said.
“Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately,” she said. “Corporate information — often of high economic and even strategic value — was at the centre of espionage activity.”
“Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the United Nations and the office of the president of the republic itself had their communications intercepted,” she added.
The surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA), Rousseff said was “a breach of international law”.
“Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations,” Rousseff said.
The information of US spying on Brazil was first brought to light by documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and further detailed in daily O Globo and TV programme “Fantastico”.
The documents indicated that the US government has for years carried out a widespread surveillance scheme that monitored millions of e-mails and phone calls made by Brazilian citizens and companies, as well as foreigners in the country.
Washington’s efforts to smooth over Brazil’s outrage over the NSA espionage have so far been rebuffed by Rousseff, who has proposed that Brazil build its own internet infrastructure.
As host to the UN headquarters, the US has been attacked from the general assembly many times in the past. However, what made Rousseff’s denunciation all the more painful diplomatically was the fact that it came from a large, increasingly powerful and historically friendly state.