Lula fires Brazil spy agency No. 2 over snoop involving Bolsonaro's son

Police searches home and office of Carlos Bolsonaro two days after Supreme Court granted warrants. (Photo/AFP)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has ordered the sacking of the national intelligence agency's deputy director amid an investigation into alleged illegal espionage involving predecessor Jair Bolsonaro's son, according to an official bulletin.

Brazil's federal police are probing allegations of politically motivated and illegal spying during the far-right Bolsonaro's 2019-2022 presidency.

The federal police on Monday searched the home and office of Carlos Bolsonaro, the son of former president and a Rio de Janeiro city councilman, two days after the Supreme Court granted the warrants.

Police said in a statement that they conducted nine searches as part of a broader investigation into the nation’s intelligence agency and alleged spying on political opponents during Bolsonaro's term, which ended in December 2022.

In a decision made public, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes said the police claim it has identified a group, of which Carlos Bolsonaro allegedly forms part, that "monitored 'political enemies' and sought information about the existence of investigations related to the children of the then president of the Republic Jair Messias Bolsonaro."

Israeli spyware


Images broadcast on TV network GloboNews showed Carlos and his father outside the latter’s residence in Angra dos Reis, south of Rio de Janeiro. Police searched the former president’s house for any electronic devices, including phones and laptops, belonging to Carlos.

Monday’s operation comes days after federal police searched the office and home of the former chief of Brazil’s intelligence agency under Bolsonaro, Alexandre Ramagem, and a dozen other people.

Police statements and Supreme Court documents show police are investigating an "organised crime" group that operated within the intelligence agency, known by its Portuguese acronym ABIN, during Bolsonaro's term.

The group allegedly used the agency's tools and services for political use and personal gain.

The group is also suspected of seeking to interfere with ongoing police investigations, some of which targeted or involved two of Bolsonaro's other sons, Jair Renan and Flavio.

Police suspect ABIN under Ramagem used a software known as FirstMile, developed by Israeli company Cognyte, "to monitor targets and public authorities ... with the aim of creating false narratives," according to Supreme Court documents.

The software allows the geolocalisation of cellphones.

De Moraes, the Supreme Court Justice, said in its decision that police had identified over 60,500 uses of the software between 2019 and 2021.


Source: TRT