Rousseff: Any Petrobras spying has economic motive

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By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff again demanded answers from the U.S. government Monday after a new report about National Security Agency spying on Brazil.

The report broadcast by the Globo TV network Sunday night, based on leaked documents from Edward Snowden, said the NSA targeted Brazil's state-run oil firm Petrobras. That came a week after a report on Globo indicated that the communications of Rousseff herself were intercepted by the NSA.

The new Globo report also said Google and the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, an organization better known as SWIFT that oversees international bank transfers thought to be secure transactions, were targeted by the NSA.

The report gave no indication about what information the NSA may have obtained from the companies. All three companies are included in an NSA training manual for new agents on how to target the private computer networks of big companies, the report said.

"If the facts in the report are confirmed, then it's evident that the motive for the ... espionage is not security or to fight terrorism, but economic and strategic interests," Rousseff said in an emailed statement.

Rousseff met with U.S. President Barack Obama last week in Russia during a Group of 20 meeting. She said Obama promised to provide explanations about the NSA program by this Wednesday.

"The Brazilian government is determined to obtain clarifications from the U.S. government about any possible violations committed," her statement said.

Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo traveled to the U.S. from Europe on Monday and he is expected to meet Wednesday or Thursday with Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, to hear explanations of the NSA program, the foreign ministry said.

Petrobras said in an emailed statement that it was aware of Globo's report and that it takes the most up-to-date precautions available to protect its computer network.

Earlier reports based on Snowden's documents revealed the existence of the NSA's PRISM program, which gives the agency comprehensive access to customer data from companies like Google and Facebook.

Separate reports last week in the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica, also based on Snowden's leak, said the NSA and its British counterpart had developed "new access opportunities" into Google's computers by 2012, but the documents didn't indicate how extensive the project was or what kind of data it could access.

James Clapper, director of U.S. national intelligence, said in a statement that "it is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing."

The NSA collects the information to provide "the United States and our allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy," the statement said. "It also could provide insight into other countries' economic policy or behavior which could affect global markets."

It said the intelligence community's "efforts to understand economic systems and policies and monitor anomalous economic activities is critical to providing policy makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security."

Clapper added that the NSA has had "success in disrupting terror networks by following their money as it moves around the globe."

"What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line," he said.

Glenn Greenwald, a U.S. journalist living Rio de Janeiro who received thousands of documents from Snowden and was the first to break stories about the NSA's extensive program to collect Internet and phone data, worked with Globo on its latest report.

It came a week after Greenwald and the network said NSA documents showed that U.S. spy agencies had monitored Rousseff as well as Mexico's new president prior to his election. That report brought demands for an explanation and investigations from the governments of Brazil and Mexico, and left Obama scrambling to soothe the anger in two important countries in the Western Hemisphere.

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration had quietly persuaded a surveillance court in 2011 to lift a ban on the NSA searching deliberately for Americans' communications in its huge databases of intercepted phone calls and emails.

The same day, the German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that the NSA is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices to gain access to users' data on all major smartphones.

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Bradley Brooks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bradleybrooks

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