The shockwave from the revelations of Edward Snowden continue. After exposing Monday that Brazil had been in the crosshairs of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), on Tuesday, new revelations emanating from Glenn Greenwald and Snowden himself disclosed how the data collection program conducted by Washington also spread by almost all countries in Latin America, including but not limited to Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Peru.
In regards to Brazil, its Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota, said that his country is still awaiting a response from the United States about the massive spying revealed in some of Snowden’s documents. The government of Brazil has reacted with surprise to the revelations, although it is difficult to conceive that the Rousseff government did not know anything about such spying.
According to an article published Tuesday in the corporate controlled O Globo newspaper, for whom Mr. Greenwald wrote an article pertaining the spying on Brazilian communications, between January and March of this year NSA agents used the program Boundless Informant for cataloging phone calls and internet communications in Brazil.
The same documents allegedly provided by Snowden, for a specified period, from 2 to 8 February, U.S. agents also made use of Prism, the program developed in collaboration with internet giants like Google or Facebook – even though they deny such collaboration – to collect data from personal communications.
Both O Globo and the Guardian say that the NSA, in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), maintained offices in Brasilia, Bogota, Caracas, Mexico and Panama. In Brazil, according to the documents, the whole team had the task of compiling data from a specific program called Fornsat.
All this information is coordinated in a base of operations of the NSA in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States. There is no information on what teams did in the other Latin American offices, or if these programs were kept after 2002, but other NSA leakers have confirmed that the spying in Latin America has been happening for at least 10 years. Is the public supposed to believe that no country in the region knew about it even though 65 cities around the world were hosts of the NSA special equipment that facilitated the snooping on governments and companies?
According to the leaked documents, the U.S. used these systems to capture information of military and national security, as well as for their own economic interests in the area.
The NSA used Prism to get information on arms purchases made by the Venezuelan government, data on energy policies and the fight against drug trafficking in Mexico. It is alleged that it also followed the movements of the FARC in Colombia.
A series of maps published by the Brazilian newspaper suggest that the NSA implemented its X-Keyscore system in Latina America, a tool which identifies messages and phone calls by the language of the conversation. This system would have been implemented in Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in Brazil and most of Central American states.
Although, according to the documents, Brazil was the most watched by the NSA in absolute terms, Colombia comes in a close second on the list. It is precisely this country the one to have attracted more attention from U.S. intelligence, even though its government has one of the strongest cooperative relationships with the United States, especially in military issues.