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Snowden Documents Show U.S. Spied on Petrobras, Globo TV Reports

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government spied on Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Globo TV reported, citing classified documents obtained by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The television network, which reported a week ago that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted phone calls and e-mails of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, aired slides from an NSA presentation from 2012 that explained the agency’s capability to penetrate private networks of companies such as Petrobras, as the oil company is known, and Google Inc.

One slide in the presentation listed “economic” as an intention for spying, as well as diplomatic and political reasons. None of the documents revealed the motivation for the alleged spying on Petrobras, according to Globo.

The NSA allegedly shared its spying capabilities and information with peer agencies in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, according to Globo.

American journalist Glenn Greenwald collaborated with Globo News to report tonight’s story. He first presented accusations that the NSA intercepted phone calls and e-mails from Rousseff on Globo television on Sept. 1. Greenwald has said the information revealed earlier this month was part of the first batch of documents he received from Snowden when they met in Hong Kong.

NSA Statement

The presentation appears to contradict a statement made by an NSA spokesman to the Washington Post in an August 30 article, in which the agency said that the U.S. Department of Defense “does not engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

Petrobras declined to comment in an e-mailed response to questions. An official at the NSA told Globo that the agency gathers economic information in order to monitor for signs of potential instability in financial markets, and not to steal commercial secrets, according to tonight’s program.

A press official at the presidential palace in Brasilia had no immediate comment when reached by phone earlier today.

Rousseff told reporters at the Group of 20 summit in Russia last week that her state visit to the U.S. next month is still pending as U.S. President Barack Obama works to ensure that spying allegations won’t harm the countries’ mutual interests. Brazilian officials have denounced the case as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in Sao Paulo at gcoppola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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