Brazilian authorities searched the home and offices of Alexandre Ramagem, once Brazil's Intelligence Director under ex-President Jair Bolsonaro, in an inquiry into accusations of unlawful surveillance of thousands, including supreme court judges and a supporter of current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Ramagem, who led the National Intelligence Agency (Abin) from 2019 to 2022 and is a congressman for Bolsonaro's Liberal party, is implicated in illegal espionage investigations using Israeli software FirstMile. Police confiscated six phones, four computers, and 20 storage devices from his residence in Brasília. Bolsonaro criticized the raids as "relentless persecution."
Speculation surrounds an alleged covert division within Abin, formed in July 2020 and dubbed the "parallel intelligence agency," tasked with state security yet accused of monitoring government adversaries. Reports suggest that this unit used Cognyte's technology without legal consent, impacting around 30,000 individuals, with data housed in Israel.
Targets reportedly included judges Alexandre de Moraes, Gilmar Mendes, and former Lula-affiliated governor turned Education Minister Camilo Santana. The operation may hurt Bolsonaro's political aspirations, as he is currently under scrutiny and ineligible for public office until 2030. Bolsonaro planned to support Ramagem's candidacy for mayor of Rio de Janeiro.
This event follows similar exploitation of Israeli spyware such as NSO
, which has been used to track activists, journalists, and officials in regions including Mexico and El Salvador.