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.
military rule is a recent memory, having been replaced by elective leaders in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.