The Risco Cisco: Freaky Leak of the Week in Fresh Corruption Conniption

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PF nega fornecimento de informações sigilosas sobre Operação Persona: “The federal police denies supplying secret information about Operation Persona.”

The Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil)continues to emphasize an (apparently leak-based) story according to which Cisco Brasil used two “cut-outs” in its distribution network to make (legal) campaign donations to the ruling party.

It has been widely reported that the son of the former Cisco Brasil president was heard on a wiretap telling executives at the two resellers that such a contribution could secure them a no-bid contract with the Caixa Econômica Federal.

The CEF has denied ever signing any contracts with the suppliers in question, as I understand it at this point.

The issue has some potential to become one of those “Scooter Libby loves Judy Miller” controversies about the conflict between (1) journalists’ need to protect their sources and (2) the obstruction of justice in police investigations into illegal leaking of secret information.

Leaks, and operational security, are reportedly a real problem for Brazilian law enforcement, and an issue for the Brazilian press — many of whom seem to have never met a leak they did not like, or thought it worthwhile trying to corroborate before running it.

Recall this dramatic episode from the congressional CPI of Piracy, regarding Law Kin(g) Chong, reputed king of the Brazilian smugglers.

Given Law’s power and influence, the operation that culminated in his arrest was only possible because federal police agents from Brasília traveled to São Paulo by car, to avoid any leak of the operation. After all, it was through leaked information about police actions that Law Kin Chong had been able to avoid prosecution over the years.

That is, because the Law King allegedly owned — owns — police — and judges.

Members of 15th Military Police Battalion (Duque de Caxias) were recently arrested for allegedly getting paid off to tip drug traffickers to impending police actions against them.

The name of TV Globo reporter José Messias Xavier, meanwhile, turned up on a “mafia spreadsheet” that indicated he got paid a regular extra salary by a gambling mafia to pass along information from law enforcement sources he interacted with as part of his day job.

His day job as a TV Globo reporter, that is.

A Superintendência Regional de São Paulo da Polícia Federal informou em comunicado, na tarde desta segunda-feira, que não se pronunciou à imprensa sobre o andamento das investigações referentes à Operação Persona, deflagrada no dia 16 de outubro. A nota refere-se às informações veiculadas na mídia de que a PF teria apurado que a Cisco usou duas empresas de laranjas para doar R$ 500 mil para o PT.

The regional superintendency of the federal police for São Paulo issued a press release on Monday afternoon stating that it had not commented to the press over the progress of investigations relating to Operation Persona, which began on October 16. The note refers to reports in the news media that the PF had discovered that Cisco used two “fronts” to donate R$500,000 to the PT.

That Cisco Brasil had done so, you mean.

Cisco Brasil is a privately-held Brazilian limitada, while CSCO is a publicly traded U.S. corporation. The arm’s-length relationship is not unlike Yahoo’s relationship with its foreign subsidiaries, as I understand it. It licenses the use of its branding but maintains only a minority stake in the offshore enterprise.

O comunicado afirma ainda que a investigação corre sob segredo de Justiça. A PF esclarece que o vazamento das informações de caráter sigiloso configura infração criminal que será apurada, como em casos anteriores, através de inquérito policial a ser instaurado nos próximos dias.

The press release also states that the investigation continues under seal, by court order. The federal police stated that leaking confidential information constitutes a criminal misdemeanor that will be looked into, as in prior cases, through a police investigation to begin in the coming days.

One of the most interesting cases was when Veja magazine “reported” that allegedly corrupt federal police jailers had allegedly permitted a suspect in a politically-charged case to meet with, and allegedly coach or intimidate, a witness in the case against him.

On which see

Before Veja ran this story, the feds claim they had sent the magazine a copy of a jail log indicating that the chain of events Veja described could not possibly have happened in the time frame Veja described.

Veja engaged in ignoratio elenchi — “suppression of evidence to the contrary” — in running the story without mentioning this countervailing fact, the feds said.

To my knowledge, on that occasion Veja did not use the excuse they used in their recent (absurd) bate-boca with New Yorker journalist Jon Lee Anderson: Basically, “the dog ate my homework.”


They did, however, scream “Stalinist police state!” when the federal police summoned them to give a statement in the case.

After all, Veja was charging that federal police jailers had engaged in criminal conduct, the feds replied.

Which made them witnesses to an alleged crime, if what they reported was true.

Ecce Veja.

See also

Arguments based on the “public’s right to know” in such cases, in hands of the logic-chopping moral relativists who run some Brazilian news desks, can sometimes get to the point where they sound something like the following:

  1. The public has a right to know
  2. Al Capone is a member of the public
  3. Al Capone has a right to know that the police are planning to raid his speakeasy, which we just published, based on an anonymous leak.

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