Brazilian government justifies its own spying activities

Russia, Iran and Iraq have been monitored for several months; Justice Minister says the program was "legal"

In the aftermath of NSA spying on Brazil communications, it has emerged that the Brazilian country has also actively spied on diplomatic activities of other countries.

According to a story published by newspaper Folha de São Paulo yesterday (4) the monitoring that took place between 2003 and 2004 targeted Russian diplomats supposedly involved in dealing military equipment, as well as Iraqi officials that were supposedly heading over to Brazil and Iranian diplomats and their local contacts.

At an event today (5) the Brazilian minister of Justice José Eduardo Cardozo said the spying was "legal" and that the spying practices of Brazil and the methods used by the USA are "completely different."

"Any comparison between [the methods of both countries] is misleading. Brazil was victim of a breach of privacy, hacking of messages and calls. The USA spying is a threat to our sovereignty and Brazil had a strong reaction . Most importantly, those breaches took place in national territory," Cardozo told Jornal do Brasil.

The minister added that the monitoring was a counterintelligence operation and that "all countries do it and have to do counterspying" and that there was nothing wrong with that.

The Brazilian Institutional Security Cabinet, which oversees the country’s intelligence activities, said on a statement that the monitoring operations concerning the foreign diplomats and diplomatic properties in Brazil that took place nearly a decade ago were “in absolute compliance” with legislation governing such practices.