Brazilian President Bolsonaro visits CIA


Washington (AFP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had a meeting at the headquarters of the US Central Intelligence Agency Monday as he launched an official visit to the US capital.

The rare visit by a foreign leader to the marquee US spy agency was reported by his son Eduardo, a Brazilian legislator who was along for the trip.

"I'm going now with the president and ministers to the CIA, one of the most respected intelligence agencies in the world," he said on Twitter.

"It will be an excellent opportunity to discuss regional issues with top-level experts and technicians."

A Brazilian source said Bolsonaro was there for discussions about organized crime and drug trafficking as well as other issues important to Brazilian security bodies, but could not confirm whether he met with CIA director Gina Haspel.

The CIA declined to confirm or deny the visit, saying it does not comment on who visits its headquarters in the forested Washington suburb of McLean, Virginia.

The far-right leader, a former military officer who took office on January 1, was in Washington for meetings with President Donald Trump to cement a budding conservative-populist alliance and to coordinate pressure on Venezuela.

He arrived Sunday with six ministers, among them Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and Justice Minister Sergio Moro.

In his first event, he dined at the Brazilian embassy Sunday night with US conservative thinkers including former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead, and American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp.