The CIA has long felt the need to protect and spread democracy to the world, though it usually contains a leftist flavor.
The most notable US-backed color revolution in recent memory may have been Ukraine’s 2014 overthrow of its pro-Russian president during the Obama administration. However, several other nations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and South/Central America would appear to be candidates for clandestine interference.
It is rare that such operations extend to major countries, in which the risk of being discovered and creating an international incident may be greater.
But among the many democratic norms it has shattered, the Biden administration now seems to be boldly throwing off those constraints in the interest of ousting another democratically elected—albeit ideologically opposed—world leader.
This time, CIA Director William Burns apparently told Brazilian election officials that they must stop Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from undermining the people’s confidence in the crumbling nation’s electoral systems.
Bolsonaro is often compared to former American President Donald Trump by the leftist media. Therefore the American establishment views him as a major threat to global democracy.
The Brazilian president, who is up for reelection this coming October, has cast some doubt as to the legitimacy of the country’s electoral system in recent months.
Polls in Brazil currently claim Bolsonaro is less popular than his left-wing opponent, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and will need to make up significant ground before the election if he is to emerge victorious.
According to the initial Reuters report, Burns met with Brazilian officials last July—during which, it seems, he urged them to work against Bolsonaro.
“Burns was making it clear that elections were not an issue that they should mess with,” one of the sources said. “It wasn’t a lecture, it was a conversation.”
But those in Bolsonaro’s administration have denied that such conversations ever took place.
Brazil’s Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI), a part of the Bolsonaro’s office and led by National Security Adviser Augusto Heleno, released a statement suggesting that nothing of the sort had happened.
“The matters dealt with in intelligence meetings are confidential,” Heleno said.
“The GSI does not receive messages from any country in the world, nor does it transmit them,” he added. “That conversation about elections never happened.”