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Brazilian lawmakers want to meet with Snowden

The Foreign Relations Committee of Brazil's House of Representatives agreed Wednesday to send a delegation to meet with former U.S. intelligence employee Edward Snowden, who lives in asylum in Russia.

The measure was unanimously passed by the lawmakers, but has yet to be approved by the Russian government or Brazil's Foreign Ministry.

A series of recent revelations of U.S. spying on Brazil's leadership, including the president, were based on documents leaked by Snowden before he sought asylum in Russia to evade imprisonment or worse in the United States, where he is wanted for stealing sensitive information.

Brazil's lawmakers want to discuss the revelations with the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, whose documents indicated that Brazil was a prime target of Washington's global surveillance program.

Washington insists that it only monitor digital communications to thwart terrorism, but revelations that it spied on the emails of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and members of her cabinet, as well as Brazil's oil giant Petrobras indicate the true objective is industrial espionage, Brazil maintains.

Brazil is particularly sensitive to spying that targets its deep-water oil reserves, as it prepares to open bidding to international companies interested in operating there.

In a statement released on Monday, Rousseff stressed that the news indicates U.S. spying has strategic and economic goals, and has nothing to do with terrorism prevention, since Petrobras does not represent a threat of any kind.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to respond to Brazil's request for a full explanation on the matter by Wednesday, but so far the White House has not issued any statements.

Rousseff has suggested she may cancel her scheduled trip to Washington in October if she receives no satisfactory reply.

[Source: Xinhua, Rio de Janeiro, 11Sep13]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
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