The Government of Brazil's counterterrorism strategy consisted of deterring terrorists from using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds, along with monitoring and suppressing transnational criminal activities that could support terrorist actions. It accomplished this through actions between its law enforcement entities and through cooperation with the United States and other partners in the region. For example, Brazilian authorities worked with other concerned nations to combat the significant and largely unchecked document fraud problem in the country. During the year, multiple regional and international joint operations with U.S. authorities successfully disrupted a number of document vendors and facilitators, as well as related human-trafficking infrastructures.
The Brazilian government investigated potential terrorist financing, document forgery networks, and other illicit activity. Elements of the Brazilian government responsible for combating terrorism, such as the Federal Police, Customs, and the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, worked effectively with their U.S. counterparts and pursued investigative leads provided by U.S. and other intelligence services, law enforcement, and financial agencies regarding terrorist suspects. In July, the head of the Brazilian Federal Police intelligence division stated on the record during a Brazilian Chamber of Deputies hearing, that an individual arrested in April was in fact linked to al-Qa'ida.
Brazil's intelligence and law enforcement services were concerned that terrorists could exploit Brazilian territory to support and facilitate terrorist attacks, whether domestically or abroad, and have focused their efforts in Sao Paulo and on border areas with Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
Brazil's intelligence and law enforcement forces also worked with regional and international partners. Brazil was actively involved in both Mercosur's Permanent Working Group on Terrorism (with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Bolivia) and its sub-working group on financial issues, which covers terrorist financing and money laundering issues.
Bilaterally, the U.S. government provided a variety of training courses throughout Brazil in counterterrorism, combating money laundering, detection of travel document fraud, container security, and international organized crime. The United States hosted a Major Crimes Conference that successfully brought together Brazil and neighboring countries' federal and state law enforcement communities, as well as judges and prosecutors, to share best practices and receive practical training.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been critical of the FARC's use of violence and publicly called on the group to end its violence against the Colombian government.
Brazil monitored domestic financial operations and effectively used its financial intelligence unit, the Financial Activities Oversight Council (COAF), to identify possible funding sources for terrorist groups. Through COAF, Brazil has carried out name checks for persons and entities on the UNSCR 1267 and 1373 terrorist finance lists, but it has so far not found any assets, accounts, or property in the names of persons or entities on the UN lists.
The Brazilian government is achieving visible results from recent investments in border and law enforcement infrastructure that were carried out to control the flow of goods through the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the proceeds of which could be diverted to support terrorist groups. The inspection station at the Friendship Bridge in the TBA, which was completed by the Brazilian customs agency (Receita Federal) in 2007, reduced the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and contraband goods along the border with Paraguay. According to Receita Federal, from January to July 2009, the agency seized more than US$ 400 million in contraband goods, including drugs, weapons, and munitions, an increase of eight percent from 2007. The Federal Police had special maritime police units in Foz de Iguacu and Guaira that patrolled the maritime border areas.
Brazil's overall commitment to combating terrorism and the illicit activities that could be exploited to facilitate terrorism was undermined by the government's failure to strengthen its legal counterterrorism framework significantly. While Brazilian law criminalizes terrorist financing when connected to a money laundering offense, it does not criminalize terrorist financing itself as an independent crime. Although the 2005 National Strategy against Money Laundering (ENCLA) created a working group charged with drafting legislation to criminalize terrorism and terrorist financing, the draft legislation was never forwarded from the executive branch to the Brazilian Congress. At year's end, a long-delayed anti-money laundering bill was pending before the Brazilian Congress.