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FBI Spying in Foreign Lands


Earlier this year a virtual ‘bomb’ exploded in Brazil.  No it wasn’t a real explosive device, it was instead a ripple of shock created in the Brazilian society after the disclosure that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had a Portuguese national in its employ stationed in Brazil with the sole purpose of collecting intelligence.  The dissemination of that information came as a consequence of an article published in a weekly News Magazine entitled 'Carta Capita' based in Sao Paulo.  The agent Carlos Alberto Costa, presumably was collecting intelligence on the country’s Islamic community.  He had received instructions to amass lists of Islamics that attended Islamic services at Mosques as well as community events and gatherings.  He says that he refused, and as such was recalled to Washington and relieved of his duties in Brazil. Costa was Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s offices in Brazil, from 1999 to 2003, and recently tendered his resignation.  He and his family reside in Brazil.


In the interview with ‘Carta Capital’ he made some significant remarks of interest.  He affirms that he parted ways with the FBI out of a concern for its direction as dictated by official policy from Washington.  He stipulated that he and many other intelligence professionals shared a deep concern over recent policies, which he declined to specify.  He did however state that should anything happen to him out of the ordinary, that several people had instructions to make some video recordings of his, containing shocking information public.  Again he declined further elaboration.


Costa was an agent for 22 years, who previously resided in the Rhode Island area.  He had assignments that ran the gamut of FBI duties including white collar crime as well as organized criminal investigations.  He was previously in charge of the Bureau’s International Counter-Intelligence unit targeting industrial espionage. For a time, a few years ago, he assisted in duties in Newark, New Jersey, tied to some investigations that required his knowledge of the Portuguese language.  The city of Newark has one of the largest Portuguese immigrant communities in the United States.


His disclosures in Brazil raised some noteworthy concerns, since he affirmed that the American intelligence community boasts control over most police agencies in the world, inclusive of the elite units of the Brazilian Federal Police.  According to Costa, the United States has spent millions of dollars to bribe police in Brazil alone, and also in many nations, in order to concretize specific American concerns and operations.  He boldly stated that the Brazilian Federal Police may be Brazilian but in fact work for the Americans, and the same can be said of many other nations’ forces.  He further brought to light that many of the governmental activities in Brazil are under observation by means of listening devices that the Americans have been able to covertly install in the halls, and meeting rooms, of government.


The affirmations let loose a wave of protest with promised investigations into the activities of the Federal Police.  Carta Capital followed up the scandal in its subsequent issue that it entitled, ‘Uncle Sam’s List, Spies in Brazil.’  Costa reiterated that he has no desire to work in intelligence and has become an entrepreneur in Brazil, his firm promises to specialize in security work and issues related to health, which he said, were ‘worthy of deep concern.’


L.M. / Contributing Correspondent


(My regular column will return with the February 2005 issue.) 

Source: Carta Capital, March 24, 2004.



Posted  December  12, 2004

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