Canada spied on communications at Brazil’s Mining and Energy Ministry, according to Canadian intelligence documents revealed late Sunday by Globo television.
Documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, purportedly from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, show a detailed outline of the Brazilian ministry’s communications including phone calls, email and Internet traffic.
Earlier disclosures by Snowden that the United States spied on the same ministry, as well as on President Dilma Rousseff and her aides, have strained US-Brazilian ties.
According to Globo, Snowden obtained the documents at a June 2012 meeting of intelligence analysts from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, a group said to be called the “Five Eyes.”
A Canadian software spying program named Olympia “mapped” the ministry’s phone communications and computers with the goal of studying contacts “made with other groups, within and outside of Brazil, aside from PETROBRAS,” Globo said. PETROBRAS is the country’s state-run energy giant.
One of the documents shows a registry of calls from the ministry to other countries, including to the Quito, Ecuador-based Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) and the Brazilian embassy in Peru.
Communications between the ministry and countries in the Middle East, as well as South Africa and Canada, also appear in the report.
Canada has mining interests in Brazil, Mining and Energy Minister Edilson Lobao told Globo. He described the development as “serious.”
“There are many Canadian businesses interested in doing business in our country. If that is where the interest in spying comes from, to help certain business interests, I cannot say,” Lobao said.
The documents Globo showed included instructions on the next steps the Canadian agency should pursue in Brazil, which included seeking help from a group code-named TAO, said to be an elite US espionage unit.
It also suggests a more detailed analysis of data, and pursuing tactics that include copying all of a computer’s data without altering them.
In a Twitter message on Sunday Rousseff said that Brazil will introduce a measure at the United Nations to establish an “international civilian framework” to protect the privacy of internet users.
Rousseff, who canceled a state visit to Washington over the espionage scandal, launched a blistering attack on the United States at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September over the US electronic surveillance.
Snowden, a 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor, is wanted by the United States after revealing details of a massive NSA electronic surveillance program.
Snowden spent more than a month in transit in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before slipping into Russia where he was granted asylum. AFP