The NSA Scandal: Good for the Brazilians?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 5 2013 4:10 PM

The NSA Scandal: Good for the Brazilians?

The AFP reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has "halted preparations for a Washington visit Thursday amid an escalating row over alleged US spying on Latin American leaders." If you are saying "whuh-uh?" at this point, you might be too distracted by the will-we/won't-we Syria story to be following one of the latest Glenn Greenwald stories based on a Snowden leak—that the NSA was monitoring the president's communications. Cue the advisers, named and anonymous, accusing the White House of being disingenous and risking the cancellation of a state dinner and economic deal.

The official, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the episode, said Rousseff feels "patronized" by the U.S. response so far to the Globo report. She is prepared to cancel the visit as well as take punitive action, including ruling out the purchase of F-18 Super Hornet fighters from Chicago-based Boeing Co, the official said.
"She is completely furious," the official said.

One fact to add here: Rousseff, at the moment, is fighting bad economic news and social unrest that has weakened her standing. A recent bounce—a bounce!—brought her approval back up to 38 percent. The presidential election is one year away, and Rousseff is polling in the 30s. She's still favored to make a second round if there's a runoff, but she's not thriving. This scandal, and the opportunity to attack an abuse of American power, comes at a good time, even though the U.S. isn't particularly unpopular in Brazil.

That explains the Brazil side of this. Why isn't it blowing up in the United States? Syria, and what has so far been a generalized yawn toward any NSA story involving spying on non-Americans.

David Weigel is a former Slate political reporter. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

Even by Russian Standards, Moscow’s Anti-War March Was Surprisingly Grim

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 22 2014 12:30 PM Turkey Just Got Forty-Six Hostages Back From ISIS. How Did That Happen?
Sept. 22 2014 12:07 PM Divestment Isn’t the Answer To destroy demand for fossil fuels, universities can do a lot better than just selling some stocks.
The Shortcut
Sept. 22 2014 12:31 PM Down With Loose Laces A simple trick to tighten your running shoes for good.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 12:22 PM The Age of the Streaming TV Auteur
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.