U.S. NSA ‘spied’ on most Latin American nations – Brazil paper

BRASILIA,  (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has targeted most Latin American countries in its spying programs, with Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico ranking among those of highest priority for the U.S. intelligence agency, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported yesterday.

Citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former American intelligence contractor, O Globo newspaper said the NSA programs went beyond military affairs to what it termed “commercial secrets.”

These included petroleum in Venezuela and energy in Mexico, according to a graphic O Globo identified as being from the NSA and dated February of this year.
Also swept up in what O Globo termed as U.S. spying were Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicara-gua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador.

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala said yesterday that the reported spying was worrisome.

“We are against these kinds of espionage activities,” Humala said in a televised interview. “It would be good for (Peru’s) Congress to look with concern at privacy issues related to personal information.”

The most intense surveillance was directed at Colom-bia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico, the newspaper said.

The Globo article was written by Glenn Greenwald, Roberto Kaz and Jose Casado. Greenwald, an American citizen who works for Britain’s Guardian newspaper and lives in Rio de Janeiro, was the journalist who first revealed classified documents provided by Snowden, outlining the extent of U.S. communications monitoring activity at home and abroad.

Greenwald said on Sunday in a Twitter message that he had worked with O Globo on the reports to relay more quickly the scope and reach of the alleged surveillance. The bulk of Greenwald’s stories thus far have appeared in the Guardian.

As disclosed by Snowden to the Guardian, the NSA’s Prism program collated mail, Internet chat and files directly from the servers of companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

O Globo cited documents saying that from January to March this year, NSA agents carried out “spying actions” via “Boundless Informant,” which it said cataloged telephone calls and access to the Internet. Agents also used Prism from Feb. 2 to 8 this year, O Globo said.

A main NSA surveillance target was Colombia, the United States’ top military ally in the region, where drug trafficking and movements by the FARC guerrilla group were monitored, O Globo said.

In Venezuela the NSA spied on military procurement and the oil industry, and in Mexico the agency gathered information on the drug trade, the energy sector and political affairs using Prism.

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