Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

18 Aug, 2013

Exclusive: WikiLeaks Cable exposes U.S. bid to penetrate Brazil’s security apparatus

Former U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff cited unspecified “threats” by “ill-intentioned individuals or groups” in attempting to persuade Brazilian security ministers and officials to give the U.S. a vital foothold in the Brazilian travel, transport, trade and sports events networks, according to a WikiLeaks cable.

Using touchy-feely buzzwords such as “partnerships,” “cooperation” and “assistance,” Mr Chertoff sought to convince the Brazilian security ministers and officials of the need to accept U.S. security equipment and station U.S. security personnel at a number of Brazilian border-control points responsible for both products and passengers.

In the process, he also gained valuable intelligence in the form of briefings by the Brazilians on their security concerns, thus identifying opportunities for additional marketing of security equipment and tracking of people and products crossing Brazilian borders, the cable shows.

Reproduced in full below, the classified cable was written by the then U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Clifford M. Sobel following Chertoff’s July 19-22 2008 visit to Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazil. The cable was included in the original tranche of leaks provided to Julian Assange by Bradley Manning. Dug up by Travel Impact Newswire, the cable will raise further questions about the credibility of the U.S. government and boost global calls for transparency and accountability over its conduct in dealing with security threats, real or perceived.

While it does not yield any inside intelligence-quality information, the cable exposes the marketing strategy and methodology to tap the multi-billion dollar revenue stream that awaits the U.S. and, by extension, the Israeli security industry, including the legions of private security contractors. Proving that such a strategy exists also clearly disproves what are often debunked as “conspiracy theories” and bolsters the assertion by sceptics that many so-called global safety and security “threats” are false-flag operations designed to facilitate sales of security equipment.

The record of Chertoff’s discussions also proves how global sports events such as World Cup football and Olympics are marketed to generate more sales of security equipment. (Click here for proof that this assertion is 100% accurate).

The U.S. defence, military and security industry is a major generator of jobs and export income for the economically-stagnant United States, and one of the few remaining areas of competitive advantage. However, the unbridled global expansion of the U.S. military-industrial complex is being widely seen as a danger to global democracy and freedom of movement.

Because expanded usage of its security apparatus in key countries such Brazil, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and elsewhere also will give the United States the ability to monitor global movements of trade, products and passengers, it becomes clear why the U.S. military/defence apparatus wants to silence whistleblowers, and ensure that its version of the narrative remains unquestioned.

However, a clear reference in cable to the U.S.’s ability to “perform network traffic analysis in order to determine links among groups and individuals” indicates why Edward Snowden is trying to bring these issues into the public domain. Effectively, this gives the U.S. unchecked ability to target anyone, including non-U.S. citizens, it deems to be a “threat” and go after them with or without “partnership agreements” with non-U.S. security agencies worldwide. Such “threats” could include critics and opponents of U.S. policies.

For the travel & tourism industry, the cable’s relevance is obvious. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, travel & tourism has been targetted as a primary cash-cow buyer of military equipment now pursuing civilian markets, and faces mounting hassles of costs and concerns over privacy and freedom of movement. The industry needs to start asking some hard questions, and demanding clear and truthful answers.

Open full text of cable.


DE RUEHBR #1264/01 2662043


R 222043Z SEP 08


















E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2018






Classified By: Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel. Reasons: 1.4 (B) & (D)

1. (C) Summary and Comment: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chertoff’s July 19-22 visit to Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazil identified new areas of cooperation between the United States and Brazil. They included improved security of passenger travel and travel document fraud detection through an Immigration Advisory Program pilot, cooperation on cyber-security and cyber-crimes, joint work to improve martime security through the Maritime Domain Awareness program, increased cooperation on infrastructure protection, particularly, the security of port and nuclear installations, and enhanced cooperation on supply chain security. The Secretary and his interlocutors in the Brazilian government also agreed on the next steps to advance cooperation in these new areas, to include a bilateral exchange of notes pinpointing the issues both countries will work on and allowing technical teams of experts of both countries to build on this agreed framework. Secretary Chertoff’s visit revealed substantial interest among Brazilian federal and state agencies in cooperating with the United States on security-related matters. DHS immediately scheduled a follow-on visit led by Undersecretary Robert D. Jamison to Brazil, which took place the week of August. End Summary and Comment.


Critical Infrastructure Protection


2. (U) Secretary Chertoff’s first stop on his visit was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, home to six million people, a booming oil and gas industry, and significant mining, entertainment, and telecommunications interests. With some two million people living in slums (“favelas”) that are often the scene of gun battles between government forces and organized criminal elements, infrastructure and security are critical issues for Rio de Janeiro’s development, especially as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup Finals and bids to host the 2016 Olympics.

3. (U) Colonel Marco Antonio Amaro, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Cesar Maia’s Security Advisor, provided Secretary Chertoff with an assessment of the city’s public security situation and an overview of its critical infrastructure installations. According to Colonel Amaro, the local government’s strategy of spending more money on weapons and cars has not been successful in improving Rio’s security situation. He acknowledged police corruption and advocated a new approach focused on improving social and professional conditions such as increased salaries, training, and education.

4. (C) In a meeting with Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral, Secretary Chertoff stressed the importance of critical infrastructure protection as an element of national security. Highlighting the debilitating impact that incapacitation or destruction of such infrastructure would have on Brazil’s economy, he urged Governor Cabral to work with both the federal government and the private sector to improve Brazil’s national capability to protect the interrelated aspect of its infrastructure from criminal or natural destructive occurrences. Their conversation centered around possible cooperation on security preparations for upcoming major sports events such as the 2011 World Military Games, the 2014 Soccer World Cup, and possibly the 2016 Summer Olympics (Rio de Janeiro is a finalist city in the current bid process). Governor Cabral was pleased by the offer, and the Secretary highlighted this planned cooperation during the post-meeting press availability.


Public-Private Cooperation on Homeland Security


5. (U) Though the Port of Rio de Janeiro is not part of the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), it is a significant port in the context of Brazil’s national and international commerce. (Note: The Port of Santos, in the neighboring state of Sao Paulo, is the first CSI port in South America and the 39th operational CSI port in the world to target and pre-screen maritime cargo containers destined for U.S.) In 2007, almost 9 million tons of general cargo passed through the Port of Rio de Janeiro. Port improvements such as expanded rail and maritime access are underway, funded in large part by President Lula’s Growth Acceleration Program (PAC).

6. (U) Secretary Chertoff met with representatives from the Port Authority, state government, and private sector to promote a strong government-private sector partnership for DHS security initiatives such as the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) and the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT). They discussed port security in Brazil, and how the Brazilians and the United States could work together to improve port and container security. The Brazilians offered to host a regional seminar, which would include representatives from the public and private sector in various Latin American countries and the United States, to discuss port-related issues and set up a regional dialogue on the issue of port and container security.


Discussing Immigration Advisory Program with Ministry of Justice


7. (C) In Brasilia, Secretary Chertoff met with Minister of Justice Tarso Genro, who highlighted the excellent relationship that exists between each country’s law enforcement agencies and his interest in deepening such cooperation by finding new areas in which to work together. Secretary Chertoff noted security of travel, security of commerce, and security of infrastructure, as three areas on which the two could work together, adding that with large international events such as the World Cup, the World Military Games, and possibly the Olympic Games, which require complex plans to secure, that DHS would be a willing partner in helping Brazil prepare itself for these events.

8. (C) Minister Genro welcomed Secretary Chertoff’s offer and keyed-in on the issue of security of travel, noting that it was an extremely important and sensitive one for Brazil, particularly in light of the recent diplomatic “crisis” with Spain. During that unfortunate episode, he added, Brazil felt that Brazilian travelers to Spain — whom Spain was scrutinizing on suspicion of illegal travel — were getting unduly harsh treatment. That was eventually resolved, he noted, when both countries exchanged teams of police officials who assisted each other in improving in their immigration and border entry systems.

9. (C) Secretary Chertoff noted that DHS’s Immigration Advisory Program (IAP), under which immigration advisors work with airlines at overseas airports to prevent the travel of “high-risk” persons who are likely to encounter entry problems upon arrival in the United States, should similarly help the United States and Brazil. Identifying high-risk travelers at the point of embarkation is not only economically sensible for the airlines, who are responsible for the return ticket, but, more important, can help enhance security for all, explained the Secretary.

10. (C) Minister Genro responded that he was interested in establishing such a program, but that it touched on several sensitive points. First is the issue of allowing foreign law enforcement agents to operate within Brazilian airports, which raises, what for Brazil are traditional, concerns over infringement on Brazil’s sovereignty. Also, according to Genro, Brazil’s Federal Police is quite capable and such could create the impression that Brazil does not appreciate their work. But at the same time, he added, Brazil would like to assist the United States in addressing the problem of potentially dangerous individuals transiting Brazil en route to the United States.

11. (C) A program such as the IAP, Genro stressed, would have to be carefully structured so as to create a dynamic that is favorable to its continuation. Minister Genro also added that other countries have inquired about having such a program, such as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Spain and that they want to be careful about setting a precedent and that is why the details are important. Ideally, Genro noted, the United States would send officers for a short period of time, perhaps 30-45 days, they would work side-by-side with their Federal Police counterparts, both would learn from each other in identifying false or fraudulent travel documents, and then both countries could look at the results and see what worked and what improvements could be made in future iterations. Secretary Chertoff countered with a six-month pilot. Minister Genro agreed in principle with the concept of an IAP pilot, and that their respective technical experts should engage each other in the details. (Note: The Ministry of External Relations (Itamaraty) has in the past objected to the IAP. Their buy-in will have to be gained in order for an IAP pilot to move forward. End note.)

12. (C) Genro also added that his Ministry would be interested in assistance on cyber-crimes, port security, and infrastructure protection. He recommended that the next step would be for both countries to exchange diplomatic notes proposing possible areas of cooperation, including public security, intelligence, technical assistant, and exchange points of contact.


Cyber Security and Counterterrorism, Priorities for Brazilian Intelligence


13. (C) Secretary Chertoff and Brazilian National Intelligence Agency (ABIN) Director Paulo Lacerda discussed intelligence reform and cyber-security. Lacerda noted the complete re-structuring of ABIN. As a result of the new structure, a counter-terrorism department within ABIN was created which will translate into an increased counterterrorism (CT) focus. Lacerda briefed the concept of the Department for the Integration of the Brazilian Intelligence System (DISBIN) to his U.S. interlocutors. DISBIN is similar to the concept of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) except broader in scope, in that it is focused on all aspects of intelligence (see reftel). Lacerda mentioned the difficulties in uniting different cultures, integrating systems, and noted that the concept of DISBIN has been met with much resistance. Secretary Chertoff offered to assist in the establishment of this integrated system, noting that the United States had many of the same struggles with its CT initiatives.

14. (C) Continuing on the topic of CT, and specifically how it relates to the protection of Brazil’s critical infrastructure, the Secretary, as in the other meetings, noted that events such as the World Cup could make Brazil a target of opportunity for terrorists. In addition, Secretary Chertoff expressed his concern that Brazil could easily be used as a staging point for entering the United States, via Central America, by people of ill-intent.

15. (C) Lacerda noted his concern with the protection of Brazil’s offshore oil platforms, to which Ambassador Sobel offered to cooperate as part of the Maritime Awareness Program. Lastly, both sides agreed that the United States could provide valuable and needed assistance and training on cyber security, a concern that was of particular concern for Lacerda. (Note: On September 1, Lacerda was suspended from his duties pending an investigation into ABIN’s role in the illegal wiretapping of phones of Supreme Court President Gilmar Mendes and other senior-level officials from all three branches of government. End note.)


Discussing Maritime Security with Minister of Defense


16. (C) Secretary Chertoff had separate meetings with Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim on July 21 and Brazilian Navy Commander, Admiral Moura Neto, on July 22 to discuss airport security, maritime security and infrastructure protection, particularly of Brazil’s offshore oil platforms.

17. (C) Jobim noted his interest in enhancing airport security and implementing adequate safeguards in order minimize the risk of terrorists entering the United States. Secretary Chertoff informed Minister Jobim that he had met with the Minister of Justice earlier that day and discussed the possibility of establishing an IAP pilot that could assist Brazil in the detection of false or fraudulent travel documents at airports. Minister Jobim indicated he supported the effort, adding that the Ministry of Defense is interested in general security issues because the Ministry’s security responsibilities overlap with those of the Ministry of Justice; and even though specific security related issues, such as customs and immigration in airports belongs to the Ministry of Justice, Jobim added, the Ministry of Defense provides the “spaces” — i.e. buildings and facilities — where these entities perform their mission.

18. (C) Secretary Chertoff also highlighted the changes in roles and mission in the U.S. Coast Guard after the September 11 attacks. He explained the concept of the Maritime Domain Awareness as one which provided for an advance notion of who is arriving in the country and for the monitoring and tracking of vessels over 300 gross tons and suggested that a visit by a Ministry of Defense delegation to Coast Guard Sector 7 in Miami could help Brazil get a better feel for how the U.S. Coast Guard performs its mission. Minister Jobim responded that the Coast Guard responsibility is part of the Brazilian Navy’s mission, and the Ministry would be interested in the opportunity to tour the Coast Guard facility in Miami and get a better feel for how it performs its mission. Jobim added that the Navy’s intent is to build vessels which will perform a Coast Guard mission to cover its 3,500 square kilometer coastline. Minister Jobim stated that the Navy will use its organic funds as well as subsidized funds from Petrobras, the state owned petroleum company, in order to establish the Coast Guard capability, which, as part of its mission, will protect Petrobras oil platforms at sea.

19. (C) During Secretary Chertoff’s meeting with Commander of the Brazilian Navy Admiral Moura Neto, the Secretary brought up his conversation with Minister Jobim about the changes in the mission of the Coast Guard following the September 11 attacks, noting that it also increased protection of critical infrastructures and offshore facilities. The Secretary also discussed Maritime Domain Awareness Program and how it improves the visibility of all ships arriving into ports and invited the Navy to visit Coast Guard and tour the newly commissioned National Security Cutter (418 feet) and proposed the idea of initiating a possible cadet exchange program.

20. (C) Admiral Moura Neto noted that the Brazilian Navy is developing a Coast Guard function with a dedicated approach to international maritime security including piracy and drug smuggling and emphasized he wanted to do it “just right”. Admiral Moura Neto touched on the importance of information sharing between our two countries. Moura Neto also expressed an interest in participating in joint exercises with the United States and expressed a strong interest in learning more about Maritime Domain Awareness.

——————————————— ——–

Discussing Cyber-Security, Border protection with GSI

——————————————— ——–

21. (C) Minister of Institutional Security (GSI) Jorge Armando Felix highlighted for Secretary Chertoff common problems in the areas of border security and cyber security and agreed that cooperation in these areas is necessary. Minister Felix noted that Brazil considers itself less threatened in terms of its critical infrastructure than the United States, highlighting that Brazil does not suffer from the natural disasters. That said, Felix noted, Brazil is concerned with threats within its territory that have the potential to affect the friends of Brazil and does not want to become a safe haven for nefarious individuals.

22. (C) Secretary Chertoff expressed his concern about the use of friendly countries in the region, such as Brazil, by ill-intentioned individuals or groups from South Africa, East Africa, South Asia, and Pakistan who transit South and Central America in order to reach the United States. In response, Felix noted that getting a better grip on who is coming in and out of the country is an ongoing concern for Brazil, since it shares borders with 10 countries; Brazil, he noted, is currently in the process of improving their passports, a process which will be complete in about three to four years, which coincides with the expiration of most passports. Felix stressed that while Brazil is confident of the Brazilian border process internally, they depend on information provided by other countries, which is where the role of intelligence comes into play. Secretary Chertoff noted that the US performs network traffic analysis in order to determine links among groups and individuals and that this could be one area where the two countries could cooperate.

23. (C) Secretary Chertoff and Minister Felix agreed that cyber-security was a growing concern for both countries, with both being subject to invasions and reconnaissance missions on their respective networks coming from Eastern Europe and Asia, and that these reconnaissance probes often leave behind devices on the system. Felix noted that they only have a small group of individuals looking at this issue and are in contact with international experts to learn more about how Brazil could protect itself. Secretary Chertoff offered training assistance from DHS on this matter.

24. (C) Secretary Chertoff and Felix also discussed Maritime Domain Awareness Program, information sharing agreements, and protection of nuclear facilities. On the latter, Felix noted that nuclear security portfolio is being moved from the Ministry of Science and Technology to his office. Felix added that Brazil’s approach to nuclear protection was threefold: protection of the designs, prevention, and consequence management. The meeting closed with the agreement to hold a meeting to move forward on the above mentioned areas of cooperation. Minister Felix noted that Brazil suffers from vast bureaucracy, and stated that any invitation for substantive matter exchange should be initiated by the United States.


Discussing Supply Chain Security, Secure Freight


25. (C) In his meeting with the Secretary of Receita Federal (Brazilian Tax and Customs Authority), Dr. Jorge Rachid, Secretary Chertoff praised the excellent relationship that exists in areas such as drug trafficking, money laundering and commercial fraud. Moreover, the Secretary added, the relationship and partnership that has been forged with Receita Federal through the Container Security Initiative (CSI) in Santos is an excellent example of a partnership and a means to assess risk. The Secretary noted that the United States has implemented a fully automated and sophisticated targeting system that targets cargo and passengers to determine what poses the highest level of risk to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and to further our successful partnership, this may be an area where the United States could share its best practices and experiences with Brazil. (Note: Shortly after his meeting with Secretary Chertoff, Rachid left Receita Federal and Ana Lina Vieira took over as director. End note.)

26. (C) Secretary Chertoff noted that another area for cooperation could be in supply-chain security. The Secretary noted that DHS would welcome Brazilian involvement through the Megaports Initiative to improve the ability to screen cargo for radiation passing through their ports.

27. (C) Secretary Rachid praised the level of cooperation with DHS agencies and noted his appreciation for the training CBP has provided, assisted by the CSI, on integrity awareness and air and marine interdiction procedures. Furthermore, Rashid described Brazil’s ongoing 3-year modernization program whose objective is to align security processes with global standards. He noted that developing an advanced risk management approach is a key goal and they welcome Secretary Chertoff’s offer of support in this area and would like to have a meeting dedicated to targeting issues. Rashid also noted that his agency recognizes the need for radiation scanners and expect to complete a requirements assessment by the end of 2008 and acquire the technology in 2009–a process Secretary Chertoff agreed to support in consultation with the U. S. Department of Energy.

28. (C) Secretary Chertoff informed Rachid of his discussions in Rio de Janeiro with the private sector on establishing a customs-business partnership to improve end-to-end supply-chain security, noting that strong private sector engagement is required to develop an effective program, as was the case in the United States. Brazilian private sector executives expressed a strong desire to help the Brazilian government establish a partnership with the trade community for improved supply chain security and believe it can help the government avoid mistakes on technology procurement in this area. Secretary Chertoff noted that CBP wants to exchange more information in this area with Brazil and assist in the development of their program, adding that the United States has mutual recognition of supply chain security programs with three countries and would welcome the same with Brazil, but first Brazil would have to implement a fully operational program.

29. (C) Rachid responded that Brazil is expanding their Linha Azul (Blue Line) program, which is now focused on revenue collection, to include security and the incorporation of strict standards for supply chain security. Rashid added that they expect to complete a strategy document for this program this year and implement it next year. According to Rachid, Brazil is also exploring mutual recognition with Argentina, South Africa, and India.

30. (C) Rachid expressed serious concern about the problem of undervaluation of shipments by importers attempting to avoid taxes as well as difficulty obtaining information on U.S. exports to verify value declarations by their importers. Secretary Chertoff explained that U.S. export data is protected under the Trade Secrets Act and is controlled by the Census Bureau in the Department of Commerce. Further, while providing blanket data on exports is not possible, CBP can provide information under the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement for investigations into specific cases of suspected fraud, adding that the ICE Trade Transparency Unit at the Embassy is the point of contact for this kind of information sharing. Secretary Chertoff noted that ICE maintains an automated system for providing relevant information and training to foreign law enforcement officials and offered to share this information when possible through DHS personnel in country.

31. (U) This message was cleared/coordinated with Embassy Brasilia and the Department of Homeland Security.