In yet another revelation from the Edward Snowden cache, Glenn Greenwald told a Brazilian news show that the NSA successfully penetrated the communication of Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto’s e-mails before and after the e;ection, and also intercepted some of the communications of Brazilian president Dilma Vana Rousseff. This will shock those who haven’t yet realized that the NSA’s explicit mission is to, er, intercept communications abroad in order to conduct and facilitate intelligence gathering:
The National Security Agency’s spy program targeted the communications of the Brazilian and Mexican presidents, and in the case of Mexico’s leader accessed the content of emails before he was elected, the U.S. journalist who obtained secret documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden said Sunday.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told Globo’s news program “Fantastico” that a document dated June 2012 shows that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s emails were being read. The document’s date is a month before Pena Nieto was elected.
The document on which Greenwald based the report includes communications from Pena Nieto indicating who he would like to name to some government posts among other information. It’s not clear if the spying continues.
As for Brazil’s leader, the June 2012 document “doesn’t include any of Dilma’s specific intercepted messages, the way it does for Nieto,” Greenwald told The Associated Press in an email. “But 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.”
The U.S. targeting mapped out the aides with whom Rousseff communicated and went a level further by tracking patterns of how those aides communicated with one another and also third parties, according to the document.
NBC dedicated 88 seconds of air time to it today:
I have two reactions to this. First, while the revelations are embarrassing to the US — the first rule of espionage is not to get caught — this isn’t exactly a shock, except perhaps to the extent that the NSA has succeeded. We continue to fund the NSA to do precisely what this reveals: listen in on foreign communications in order to keep from getting surprised by events in the present and future. We can debate whether we should have an NSA that does this, although it would probably be a short and one-sided debate, but that’s its explicit mission. The controversy isn’t about the NSA listening in on foreign conversations and foreign leaders, but on the NSA conducting domestic surveillance, which American law is supposed to prohibit.
Second: This is not whistleblowing. What Snowden is doing with these revelations is explicitly intended to damage the US and its ability to conduct intelligence outside of its borders, not to push a much-needed debate on the PATRIOT Act and checks on domestic surveillance after 12 years.