(PatriotWise.com)- According to Reuters, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director urged senior Brazilian officials last year that President Jair Bolsonaro should cease throwing doubt on his country’s voting system ahead of the October election.
According to two persons familiar with the incident who spoke anonymously, CIA Director William Burns made previously undisclosed remarks in a private, closed-door meeting in July. Since the election of US President Joe Biden, Burns has been the most senior US official to meet with Bolsonaro’s right-wing government in Brasilia.
A third source familiar with the situation in Washington said that a team led by Burns informed top Bolsonaro advisers that the president should cease eroding trust in Brazil’s electoral system. The insider was unsure whether the CIA director himself delivered the communication.
According to Brazil’s Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI), the Burns meeting had been officially advertised, which is part of the president’s office and chaired by National Security Adviser Augusto Heleno.
It said that “the things discussed in intelligence sessions are secret.”
The GSI neither receives nor transmits signals from any government around the globe.
Bolsonaro and Heleno later denied receiving such communication in a weekly social media speech.
“That election discussion never happened,” Heleno explained.
Burns arrived in Brasilia six months after the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, following the electoral loss of former US President Donald Trump.
Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist who idolizes Trump, has reiterated Trump’s unfounded charges of election fraud in the United States in 2020. He has also expressed similar reservations about Brazil’s electronic voting system, claiming that it is vulnerable to fraud without presenting any proof. continue reading
Opponents say that Bolsonaro, who lags behind leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls, is spreading uncertainties to follow Trump’s lead and reject any loss in the Oct. 2 election.
Bolsonaro has suggested not recognizing the results on several occasions and has regularly insulted the country’s federal election court. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, said this week in his latest rant that the military should conduct its parallel ballot count alongside the judiciary.
Two sources warned of a potential institutional crisis if Bolsonaro lost by a razor-thin margin, with attention focused on the role of Brazil’s armed forces, which dominated the country during the 1964-85 military dictatorship that Bolsonaro hails.
Burns, a career diplomat nominated by Biden last year, met with Bolsonaro and two top intelligence aides, Heleno and Alexandre Ramagem, then-head of Brazilian intelligence agency Abin, in the presidential palace during his surprise visit. Bolsonaro appointed both of them.
Burns also met with Heleno and Bolsonaro’s then-Chief of Staff Luiz Eduardo Ramos, both former generals, at the US ambassador’s house. Brazil’s military has always had close links to the CIA and other American intelligence agencies.
According to one of the individuals, Heleno and Ramos tried to downplay the seriousness of Bolsonaro’s frequent claims of voter fraud at the meal. According to the source, Burns responded by telling them that the political process was holy and that Bolsonaro should not be speaking in this manner.
Burns made it evident that elections were not something they should play with.
Heleno, in a letter to Brazilian congressman Luciano Bivar, dated Sept. 2, stated that he was present at the dinner held by the US ambassador. Heleno claimed it was a “courtesy function” that naturally took place with informal chats on themes of common interest between Brazil and the United States of America.
According to the sources, CIA directors seldom offer political statements. However, Biden has given Burns, one of the most seasoned US diplomats, the authority to serve as the White House’s low-profile spokesperson.
For example, Burns said in a public address last month that Biden dispatched him to Moscow in November, four months after visiting Brasilia, “to convey directly to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and several of his closest advisers the depths of our concern about his planning for war, and the consequences for Russia” if they went ahead.
The tone of his remarks in Brasilia was reinforced a month later when US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan paid a visit to Bolsonaro and expressed similar fears about electoral fraud. According to the Washington-based source, the Burns delegation’s message was more potent than Sullivan’s, who did not elaborate.
A US State Department spokesman said that Brazilians must have faith in their electoral processes.
Bolsonaro and Biden have yet to speak.