Intelligence: Brazil Remembers

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September 3,2008:  The president of Brazil has temporarily suspended the head of the national intelligence agency, and several other senior intelligence officials, until an investigation discovers who was responsible for  tapping of telephones used by a Supreme Court justice and several other senior government officials. This is a common problem in South America, where most countries have had frequent problems with the military taking over the government, or the national intelligence agency going into business for itself. Even in North America, there have been instances of police and intelligence agency operatives operating on their own. In this part of the world, the government is more concerned with internal enemies, than external ones. So the national intelligence agencies tend to put most of their efforts into domestic, rather than foreign, operations.

In Brazil, military rule is a recent memory, having been replaced by elective leaders in 1988. Any hint of generals and spymasters trying to take over again, gets a lot of Brazilians upset. That said, intelligence operatives, both at the national and local level, have often hired themselves out to politicians (often in return for favors) or even criminals (at the local level). Right now Brazilians want answers, and assurance that another military government is not on the way.

 


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