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Brazilian Agency Spied on Foreign Diplomats

11/04/2013 - 08h47

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LUCAS FERRAZ
SPECIAL ENVOY TO BRASILIA

The Brazilian government's main espionage branch spied on three foreign diplomats at embassies and in their homes, says a report by Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency).

The report includes details on ten secret operations between 2003 and 2004 and shows that even countries with which Brazil has attempted closer relations in recent years, such as Russia and Iran, were targets of Abin.

It also says Russian diplomats involved in negotiations to purchase military equipment were photographed and followed on trips.

The same occurred with employees of the Iranian embassy, followed so that Abin could identify their contacts in Brazil. The report also shows that Abin agents followed Iraqi diplomats on foot and by car to photograph them and record their activities at the embassy and at their homes.

The Presidency's Institutional Security Cabinet, to which Abin is subordinate, confirmed the operations and said they were carried out according to the Brazilian legislation.

The Brazilian government says they were counterintelligence operations, that is, they sought to protect secrets in Brazil's interest.

During the "Miucha" operation in 2003, Abin followed the routine of three Russian diplomats, including the former general consul in Rio, Anatoly Kashuba, who left the country in the same year, and representatives of the Rosoboronexport, the Russian weapon export agency.

The "Xá" operation monitored the routines and contacts of Iranian diplomats - Abin followed the steps of Iran's then-ambassador in Cuba, Seyed Davood Mohseni Salehi Monfared, during a visit to Brazil between April 9 and 14, 2004.

An Abin agent who examined the report at Folha's request said the Iranians were likely followed at another country's request, a typical cooperation between intelligence agencies.

The report also shows that the Brazilian government spied on the Iraqi embassy after Iraq was invaded by the U.S. in 2003.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

Read the article in the original language