New evidence suggests that communications between Brazil president Dilma Rousseff and key members of staff have been monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The information was reported yesterday (1) by a current affairs TV show and obtained by security journalist Glenn Greenwald, based on documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The documents the journalist based his report on did not include any specific information of what content has been intercepted by the NSA, but the journalist told the Associated Press in an email that "it is clear in several ways that her communications were intercepted, including the use of DNI Presenter, which is a program used by NSA to open and read emails and online chats."
Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo has been quoted by newspaper O Globo that "if the facts of the report are confirmed, they would be considered very serious and would constitute a clear violation of Brazil's sovereignty."
"This is completely outside the standard of confidence expected of a strategic partnership, as the US and Brazil have," the minister adds.
Communications minister Paulo Bernardo, usually more blunt in his declarations to the press, told newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the alleged spying is "totally absurd" and that the NSA practices "have nothing to do with the US security" are are "maneuvres to obtain advantages in commercial deals."
The news on spying on president Rousseff follow the revelations of concerted NSA spying on Brazil, published by Greenwald in the Brazilian press in July. The government is due to get the Brazilian ambassador in the US, Thomas Shannon, to - again - demand explanations from the White House about the case and get the United Nations involved.
After Greenwald's Brazilian boyfriend David Miranda was detained in London a couple of weeks ago under the UK Terrorism Act - clearly an effort to intimidate Greenwald, a key commentator on US and UK mass surveillance programmes - the journalist vowed to make a new series of bombastic revelations.
Since Greenwald's reports in July, the Brazilian government has announced that any illegal commercial links between local and American companies would be looked into by the Police and a Senate investigation has been launched. However, nothing concrete has come out of these investigations.
Over the last few weeks, Rousseff's government has also rushed to announce a barrage of measures to protect the country's information, such as the purchase of its first satellite and the voting of the country's "Internet Constitution". Certain parts of the future set of regulations have upset some large technology companies that operate in Brazil, such as Google and Facebook.