Glenn Greenwald NSA Security

Remind Me Again…

…how this is related to the liberty and privacy of Americans.

A Brazilian newspaper reported Tuesday that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has cancelled a state visit to Washington, DC in October.

Rousseff was reportedly angered by media reports that the United States spied on her and other Brazilians’ personal communications. O Globo newspaper said Rousseff was not swayed to go forward with the meeting by a 20-minute phone call from President Barack Obama Monday night, giving no source for the information, according to Reuters.

Did America spy on Brazil? Probably. Do we spy on all of our allies? Probably. Do they spy on us, too? Most likely. Do we spy on our enemies? Yes. Do our enemies spy on us? Yes.

Everyone spies. And I know this may seem counter-intuitive or hard to believe, but spying can, on occasion, lead to diplomatic solutions that avoid confrontation.

As for what this has to do with the liberty and privacy of Americans — I don’t know.

From my perspective this stopped being about the privacy of Americans long ago and is now about simply hurting America.

It’s likely that the government of Brazil is aware that everyone spies, but airing that out in public forces them to condemn it as if it’s a major revelation. And it’s convenient that this comes at a time when Brazil is facing social upheaval.

  • MrDHalen

    Thanks Ashby for bringing this up on this site, because it really ground my gears when I heard about it. I mean really??? Rousseff, do not bother coming!!! You are not worthy of a state dinner. You are acting like a child on the world stage. You mean to tell me that Brazil does not spy on other nations? Really?? This would be like President Obama choosing not to work with the Russians on Syria because of the Snowden case.

    Yes, Brazil, the United States spies on you and you should be spying on us. Stealing from each other is bad, but knowing what the other is really up to is good for international relations and does more good for peace than harm.

    I really am sick of all these people acting like spying is some new invention of the Obama administration. Everybody spies a little. It’s called being aware of your surroundings so you are not blindsided by the actions of others.

    Nothing against the Brazilian people, but Dilma Rousseff, needs to grow up!!!

    • muselet

      Dilma Rousseff is engaging in a little show for O Globo and the more credulous members of the Brazilian public.

      Rousseff’s government had to have known the US was intercepting its communications. It’s what governments do. The press knew it too, or at least strongly suspected it, but—presumably to boost circulation—O Globo chose to make a big deal of it.

      Ignoring the outrage, however manufactured, over the US SPIES ON BRAZIL! story would have been terrible politics for Rousseff. She had to make a grand gesture of displeasure, and cancelling a scheduled state visit was just the thing.

      I’ll bet you a cookie that 20-minute phone call was cordial or even friendly, and that the state visit has informally already been rescheduled.

      Public diplomacy isn’t always pretty.


  • muselet

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Glenn Greenwald chose to publicise the “US SPIES ON BRAZIL!” non-story in an attempt to push his adopted home country out of the embrace of The Great Satan.

    (But remember, this isn’t about Glenn Greenwald or Edward Snowden. It’s about the NSA listening to you having phone sex and reading your emails. Sure it is.)


  • Schneibster

    Keep bringing the silly stuff for us, this is the kind of thing that wins arguments six months downstream when they try to bring it back up again.

    Like Fast Eddie and his Benghazi fixation.

    Or how they stopped with the Operation Fast and Furious bullshit when the conversation became about Operation Wide Receiver. That still shuts them up, but they still keep coming back six months later and bringing it up, and I still keep getting to flick them on the nose for it.

  • formerlywhatithink

    From my perspective this stopped being about the privacy of Americans long ago and is now about simply hurting America.

    It’s never been about the privacy of Americans. It’s always been about a small man living out his libertarian wet dream supported and abetted by other small men with imaginary grievances against the US in general and Obama in particular.