Skip to main content

Brazil, Mexico summon U.S. ambassadors over espionage reports

By Shasta Darlington and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 8:14 AM EDT, Tue September 3, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Brazil's foreign minister decries an "unacceptable violation" of the country's sovereignty
  • Mexico summons the U.S. ambassador to demand an investigation
  • Journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Brazil's Globo TV about NSA documents
  • He says one document is on Mexico's soon-to-be president discussing his Cabinet picks

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- Brazil and Mexico summoned U.S. ambassadors Monday after media reports that the United States had spied on their countries' presidents.

"Without prejudging the veracity of the information presented in the media, the Mexican government rejects and categorically condemns any espionage work against Mexican citizens in violation of international law," Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement.

In Brazil, Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo called the situation "an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty."

The statements were the latest sign of international fallout over documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

NSA surveillance revelations
NSA officers spied on love interests
Obama: People 'concerned' about NSA
Foreign governments spying on you

A Brazilian news report Sunday described the alleged espionage, citing Glenn Greenwald, a Brazil-based journalist who obtained documents from Snowden.

CNN has not independently confirmed the report, and there was no immediate reaction from the White House.

Source: U.S. seeks compromise on companies' NSA data requests

The report first appeared in Globo TV's Sunday night program "Fantastico" and is likely to heighten tensions between the United States and Latin America's two biggest economies.

One of the alleged NSA documents leaked to Greenwald dates from June 2012, a month before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was elected. In it, the candidate talks about whom he would select for his Cabinet if elected.

The documents did not reference any specific communications with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff but show the methods the NSA allegedly used to track e-mails and mobile phone communications with close advisers.

"It was very clear in the documents that they had already carried out the spying," Greenwald told "Fantastico," speaking in Portuguese. "They aren't talking about something they are planning, they are celebrating their spying successes."

Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo told CBN radio: "If it's confirmed, it is very serious because a country cannot passively accept the violation of its sovereignty."

"Any country that has its sovereignty violated has to react, take a position and use international law to put things in their place," he added. "And that's what Brazil will do."

A spokesman for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto declined to comment Monday morning.

Data seized from Greenwald's partner Miranda risks security, UK says

Mexican lawmakers stressed that the Brazilian news report had not been confirmed but demanded further explanation from the U.S. government.

"This new revelation is extremely delicate because any kind of espionage is an irregular situation that is against the law. However, we have to be clear that this is speculation. This is a leak, and it must be treated like one," said Sen. Marcela Guerra.

Guerra, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and president of the Senate's North American foreign relations committee, said Mexico's foreign minister should meet with the U.S. ambassador to Mexico over the matter.

"There is a feeling of deep indignation," even though the report hasn't been proven, said Rep. Fernando Zarate, secretary of the Mexican house of representatives' foreign relations committee.

"If true, it seriously violates national sovereignty," said Zarate, of the Democratic Revolution Party. "How is it possible that the telephone of a president is being monitored? What could an ordinary citizen in our country expect?"

In Brazil, bilateral relations were already strained by reports that the South American nation was one of the countries that had been most-targeted by the NSA spying program.

Rousseff is scheduled to visit U.S. President Barrack Obama in Washington in October.

Obama visited Mexico in May, stressing the importance of strengthening educational and economic ties between the two nations.

NSA misrepresented scope of data collection to secret court

CNN's Shasta Darlington reported from Sao Paulo. CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. Journalist Nick Parker and CNNMexico.com's Mauricio Torres and CNN's Ariel Crespo contributed to this report from Mexico City.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT