Brazil's Moment of Hypocrisy: They Spied on Allies Too

A new report showing that Brazil spied on the U.S. comes to light, less than two months after Brazil criticized the U.S. for spying on Brazil.

President Obama meets with Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rouseff on March 19, 2011. (National Journal)

After spending weeks lambasting the United States for its reported surveillance operations, Brazil on Monday acknowledged that it too spied on diplomats from countries around the world — including those from the U.S.

The Brazilian Intelligence Agency monitored commercial property leased by the U.S. in the capital city of Brasilia, according to The New York Times. Additionally, agency personnel followed Iranian and Russian diplomats by foot and by car, photographing their activities. Brazil defended its spying practices as a protection of "national interests."

The scope of the surveillance outlined in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo does, however, pale in comparison with the reported operations of the National Security Agency.

The relationship between the U.S. and Brazil has been strained in the last couple of months after reports came out that the NSA spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and her aides. Rouseff even canceled a state diner to the U.S. in September over the revelations, and has since expressed public outrage at the U.S. and its allies for its spying practices.

In fact, many of the nations that have criticized the U.S. for its surveillance activities have spying programs of their own, and have spied on allies — the U.S. included.

Monday's report only confirms what U.S. officials have said for weeks: Even as many of these countries loudly criticize American surveillance, it's common practice in those countries to spy on allies.