Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made an unprecedented visit to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in his first US visit before a meeting with US President Donald Trump scheduled on Tuesday.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, a lawmaker and son of the Brazilian president confirmed the visit on Monday, calling the intelligence agency one of the "most respected" in the world.
"Going now with president Jair Bolsonaro and ministers of the CIA, one of the most respected intelligence agencies in the world. It’ll be an excellent opportunity to speak about international relations topics in the region with experts and the technicians of the highest level," he said in a tweet.
Eduardo Bolsonaro claimed the meeting was to discuss “international themes in the region”.
Leading Brazilian daily O Globo reported that Bolonsaro visited the agency along with Brazilian Justice Minister Sergio Moro, noting that the visit had not been published in the president's public agenda and that press was not allowed to accompany Bolonsaro in the event.
The CIA had no comment on the visit.
Observers believe the unusual visit further signals Bolsonaro's shift towards Washington. The move is, however, expected to be received controversially in Brazil.
In 2013, American whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the American National Security Agency (NSA) had wiretapped the conversations of then-President Dilma Rousseff, leading to suspicions towards the US and its spy agencies.
Former Brazilian Foreign Minster Celso Amorim has also slammed the meeting, saying that “no Brazilian president had ever paid a visit to the CIA.”
“This is an explicitly submissive position. Nothing compares to this,” he added.
Bolsonaro originally arrived in the US on Sunday, stating that the trip marked the first "pro-America Brazilian president" recently visiting the country.
“It’s the beginning of a partnership focused on liberty and prosperity, something that all of us Brazilians have long wished for,” he said.
Bolsonaro is an ardent admirer of US President Donald Trump and the White House’s policies, particularly those with regard to opposing left-wing governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
The Brazilian president, who is also known as “Tropical Trump,” has sparked controversy by following Trump on calling for the relocation of his country’s embassy to the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Bolsonaro personally made the promise to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu while he attended the Brazilian president's inauguration ceremony on January 1.
Last week, however, reports emerged that Bolsonaro may fail to carry out the move following opposition from military officers in his cabinet.
Vice President Hamilton Mourao also objected to the embassy move last month, claiming that the measure would hurt Brazilian exports to Arab countries which include an estimated $5 billion in halal food sales.
Bolsonaro has also said that he is open to considering the establishment of a US military base in Brazil as a way to “counter Russian influence” in neighboring Venezuela.
The move was rejected by Brazilian Defense Minister General Fernando Azevedo e Silva a week later.