NSA: Canada, You Handle the Mining Sector of the Brazilian Operation
Another day, another Edward Snowden revelation. If you’re like me, the program names are starting to run together. PRISM, XKeyscore, Mainway. The new one is called Olympia.
But this time is different. For one thing, Snowden was actually present at the event of which he speaks. For another, and more importantly, the spying agency was not the NSA, nor even the UK’s GCHQ, but Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC).
Last night on the by now famous Brazilian TV program Fantastico, Glenn Greenwald and Sonia Bridi said this (before the English translation the program provides, h/t wendydavis). In June 2012 Snowden attended a meeting of analysts from the Five Eyes countries’ spying agencies. The presentation was by the CSEC, and concerned spying on Brazil’s Ministry of Mining and Energy as an illustration of the Olympia program.
The program gathers the metadata for both the telephone and internet communications of the target, producing what Fantastico calls a detailed map of its communications, and the presentation specified some of them. It also spoke of how one could go beyond metadata to get actual content by working with the TAO section of the NSA to mount an invasion called “man on the side.”
The Canadian Embassy in Brasilia refused to comment to Fantastico, and the NSA sent a talking point about President Obama reviewing the NSA surveillance.
Naturally, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounced the new contribution to spying on her country, and ordered the Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão to review its security status, while the Foreign Minister has demanded an explanation from the Canadian ambassador to Brazil, according to O Globo. (Folha de São Paulo has similar coverage.)
But why Canada? Greenwald and Bridi quote Minister Lobão as saying that some Canadian mining companies are interested in Brazil, and they observe that three of the world’s four largest mining companies are based in Canada.
Yes, that’s probably it. The NSA itself will take care of the big political stuff, like spying on Rousseff’s private network (which we know about from a presentation also dating from June, 2012, where the presenter is said to have been impressed by the achievement). But for mundane economic espionage, you guys can have it.