The United States just can't catch a break when it comes to Brazil. Only weeks after its ally Great Britain detained the Brazilian partner of an American journalist who covered the National Security Agency spying programs — with the U.S.'s knowledge — allegations surfaced over the weekend that the N.S.A has also spied on Brazil's president.
The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald revealed that the U.S. government had monitored specific communications of president Dilma Rousseff's top aides. The Globo television network also reported that in 2012, the N.S.A. obtained a text message from Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto.
Needless to say, Rousseff is not pleased. Brazil's justice minister José Eduardo Cardozo told the New York Times that, "This would be an unacceptable violation to our sovereignty, involving our head of state." Brazil has requested an explanation about the spying from the U.S. government.
This isn't the first international faux pax that documents leaked by former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden have revealed. In July, allegations that the U.S. had spied on the European Union sparked an international uproar. "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement at the time. "If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on E.U.-U.S. relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations."
In August, Der Spiegel reported that the N.S.A. had also tapped into the United Nations' videoconferencing system. Leaked documents also showed that many American allies rank high on the N.S.A.'s spying priority list.
A statement released by the Brazilian government after David Miranda's detention in the U.K. showed that the U.S. was already on thin ice. It said that the government expressed "grave concern" over "the episode," and that the "measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation." They added that they hoped such incidents "do not repeat."
Meanwhile, Rousseff's visit to Washington next month — assuming it doesn't get cancelled altogether — just jumped the scale from cordial to mega-awkward.