Brazilian police, government agencies initiate criminal probe of NSA spying
Federal law enforcement officials and other agencies in the Brazilian federal capital of Brasilia on Monday announced that they will conduct far-reaching criminal and civil investigations of the U.S. National Security Agency's alleged illegal spying activities, according to a U.S. federal law enforcement source.
Besides Brazil's federal police department, its National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) has also launched an investigation into whether any U.S. firms operating in the South American nation have gathered or surveilled personal data and phone calls of Brazilian government agencies or citizens, according to the federal police source who required anonymity.
The NSA spy program is causing international anger as Snowden continues making allegations against the U.S. government.
Anatel confirmed that it would work in conjunction with federal police and other government agencies to investigate the recent newspaper reports that President Barack Obama's NSA spy program collected more than one-billion telephone and e-mail conversations in Brazil.
The calls for investigations came in the wake of revelations published by Brazil's prestigious O Globo newspaper over the weekend that the United States "undertakes blanket surveillance of all digital and telephone communications in Latin American."
The newspaper said, "it had access to documents leaked by U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, adding that Washington used social networks and Internet service providers in its mass spying on Brazilian individuals and companies."
Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said on Sunday the government was "gravely concerned" by the spying allegations and has requested the U.S. government to explain.
Patriota stated, "The Brazilian government has asked the United States to give explanations for espionage against Brazilian citizens and institutions in its global surveillance program."
Several Latin American nations, such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, have offered asylum to rogue NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed allegations of NSA spying on tens of millions of Americans and on foreign governments.
Snowden is wanted by the U.S. Justice Department for his theft of classified intelligence and the release of the intelligence to a British newspaper reporter.