Seems “Corporate America” is becoming as tangible a concept for our (current) friends abroad as it has been to us for years. And Brazil is not happy about it.
Last night, Brazil’s Globo television network broke the story that according to documents prepared by Edward Snowden, the NSA has been secretly hacking into the databases of Brazil’s largest company, the state-run Petrobras. Petrobras is a realtively small player (currently, quantity-wise) on the world’s oil stage, but operates more offshore oil rigs than any other company. Underwater oil exploration is Petrobras’ millieu; they’ve even announced plans recently to drastically expand the size of its fleet to capitalize on deepwater, pre-salt oil finds in Brazil’s Campos and Santos basins.
So, Petrobras knows a thing or two about finding oil down deep, and they own some tremendously valuable property and information. Valuable enough that Petrobras is widely considered a “mandatory partner” for most oil companies looking to tap that deep black in the near future.
As such, the information in Petrobras’ database isn’t your garden-variety crude; this is the light, sweet, billion-dollar stuff that Exxon-Mobil DREAMS about.
But why is the NSA interested in Petrobras’ database? The NSA’s official position is that it was merely conducting routine electronic surveillance to watch for potential political instabilities that may lead to the formation of terrorist groups, and impending acts of terror.
Wait. “Terrorist groups?” In Brazil. BRAZIL? Is that the same Brazil whose most notorious “acts of terror” have been on excess pubic hair and overly clad buttocks. THAT Brazil?
While this spying hasn’t yet been confirmed in every detail from within, Brazil is already calling it an “act of industrial espionage.”
Hold on: How can this be “industrial espionage” if the NSA was collecting information for the US government, and the US government doesn’t HAVE a state-owned oil company? How could anyone POSSIBLY profit from people in the US government having knowledge of some of the richest underwater oil deposits in the world?
Well, that might have something to do with the 7.9 million dollars that Exxon-Mobil alone pumped into D.C. this year. Add in about 5.83 million from the Koch Brothers (of course), 5.5 from Chevron, 4.2 from the American Petroleum institute…or just add up the stunning $71 MILLION that 176 DIFFERENT OIL/GAS COMPANIES have dropped on our politicians in 2013 ALONE.
Surely, though…information doesn’t flow directly from the NSA to our “representatives,” and into the hands of the oil and gas industry. Right? Hell, the NSA has an oversight committee in the House and the Senate. Yeah. Let’s take a look at the people in charge of overseeing the NSA
John Boehner, R-OH: Took $236,689 from oil and gas industry in 2013
Mike Pompeo, R-KS: Took $42,100 from oil and gas industry in 2013
Devin Nunes, R-CA: Took $20,000 from the oil and gas industry in 2013
Joe Heck, R-NV: Took $9,500 from oil and gas in 2013
Michele Bachmann, R-MN: Took $1,000 from oil and gas in 2013
So, it’s difficult for one to imagine WHY Brazil’s state oil company might be SO upset about the NSA spying on its oil reserve locations. It’s not like they’re going to do anything with the information. It’s not like we live in Corporate America, where any information gathered by the government stretches straight through the bribe machine like a string through Brazillian ass cheeks.
You can read the full story (as it stands) from Reuters here.