Brazilian MPs seek a meet with Snowden
Photo: RIA Novosti
Lawmakers in Brazil are seeking a meeting with fugitive ex-US intelligence consultant Edward Snowden, who leaked documents showing the United States allegedly cyber-spied on Brazil, officials said Monday.
Foreign relations and defense committee members will meet Tuesday with Russia’s Ambassador in Brasilia Sergey Akopov on how a congressional panel might be allowed to meet with Snowden, whom Russia has granted asylum.
Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo has reported the NSA eavesdropped on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, some of her aides and the state oil giant Petrobras.
When the first allegations emerged at the beginning of the month, Brazil’s government summoned the US ambassador over the affair.
Rousseff has also halted preparations for a visit to the United States, scheduled for October 23, pending an explanation from Washington over the allegations.
Snowden’s disclosures are continuing to trickle out in the British Guardian newspaper and other publications.
The United States wants Russia to hand over Snowden so he can be investigated over the leaks.
Voice of Russia, AFP
We want to question Snowden closely to ensure that Brazil can protect itself – Brazilian MP
Ivan Valente, President of the Socialism and Freedom Party of Brazil, Member of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress of Brazil, Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has initiated a visit to Russia by Brazilian MPs to meet Edward Snowden. He elaborates on how the idea occurred to him, in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
VOR: Mr. Valente, how did the idea of this kind of travel to Russia occur to you?
Valente: We’ve been receiving information from Snowden piece after piece, in the form of reports that sometimes are published by the media. We are gradually getting the idea of the scale of the US spying activities, spying on all of the world citizens, including the US citizens. It follows from Snowden’s reports that the US is also spying on Brazilians by hacking their email accounts and reading their messages. The President of Brazil and the Republic of Brazil are also being spied on. This is also true of major companies, like Petrobras, which are strategically important. The US is after commercial secrets of such companies. We see this as a flagrant violation of Brazil’s sovereignty and integrity.
We asked a US journalist Glenn Greenwald during the recent Federal Senate hearings if the information he received from Snowden was exhaustive. He said it was only the tip of the iceberg. We decided then that we should contact the source of that information directly. The point is that Brazil was badly affected by that situation, and President Dilma Rousseff has even put on hold preparations for her state visit to the United States. The visit is now up in the air. We as lawmakers cannot remain uninvolved in the face of such a threat to national sovereignty. For Brazil to be able to protect itself politically, diplomatically and technologically, we should know the extent, to which the mechanisms in question have been operational, mechanisms that Edward Snowden is well aware of, and he has already submitted to the world the shocking details of the US vision of the police function that Washington has taken upon itself, that of a global Big Brother.
The US government has offered no reasonably believable explanations to us, and all signs are we will never get such explanations. So, since they are not about to change their policy, we should protect ourselves on our own. One protection method is to get the maximum of information from Edward Snowden, so we will ask the Russian government to provide us with this kind of opportunity.
VOR: The Deputies then see the information that they have received from Glenn Greenwald, who makes his home in Brazil, as insufficient?
Valente: Greenwald has rendered an important service to us. He has received some documents from Snowden and has shared them with us to the extent possible. But let me emphasize again that he told the Brazilian Senate that his documents are but the tip of the iceberg of the intelligence that is currently at Snowden’s disposal.
VOR: President Putin made the granting of shelter to Snowden conditional on the non-divulgence of classified information in what may damage the interests of Russia’s US partners. How do you think you will manage to get more information from Edward Snowden in this context?
Valente: The Russian government surely has certain rules for those whom Russia grants political asylum, such people as Snowden. We are not going to make any statements or divulge any classified information on Russian territory. We just want to question Snowden closely and get the maximum possible information about Brazil from him. We will then use that information and make it public in Brazil.