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Mitchell Yet To Get Answers On Us Surveillance Claims

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

NEARLY three months after reports surfaced alleging that the US National Security Agency is recording every cell phone conversation in the Bahamas, US government officials have still not responded to the allegations.

They were expected to give a formal report to the Bahamas government more than six weeks ago.

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that he met with American officials on Wednesday who reiterated that answers to pressing questions are forthcoming.

The government’s position remains that it will address the issue whether the US responds to requests for answers or not.

Nonetheless, it is unclear if the alleged surveillance programme continues at this time.

At times, observers have criticised the government’s efforts to get answers, suggesting that there has been a lack of urgency in addressing the issue.

Last month former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette accused Mr Mitchell in particular of grandstanding over plans to give a full report into the allegations.

On May 19, The Intercept reported from documents obtained by whistle-blower Edward Snowden which showed that an NSA programme, SOMALGET was “secretly intercepting recording and archiving” every cell phone conversation in the Bahamas and that those recordings were kept for a month.

On June 10, Mr Mitchell told reporters that he would present a full report in Parliament on the spying claims, as the Bahamas government had asked US officials to 
give an account on whether the alleged spying was 
true.

If found to be true, he said the government would insist on finding out if the recordings were taken legally or illegally.

Mr Mitchell the next day announced in the House of Assembly that John Kerry, the United States’ secretary of state, had stepped in to oversee investigations and that a report was promised.

That report was expected to be handed over to the Christie administration some time during the following week, but to date the government has not received it.

Comments

Cobalt 5 years, 6 months ago

Fred Mitchell.... we understand that as the Minister of Foreign Affairs it is incumbent upon you to address this issue. But do you really think that the United States takes the Bahamas seriously??? In case you haven't realized, the Bahamas government has a poor global rapport. Especially given the corrupt, incompetent, illegal practices of our current government??? So please stop being silly.....just stop the nonsense please. The US knows all about your dirty little secrets! As a matter of fact... the entire reason that the United States began spying on the Bahamas is because your PLP government embraced the drug culture in the 1980s under Lynden Pindling and the PLP!! And whenever a country's government is engaged in the practice of drug trafficking, then that country's credibility amongst respectable nations is destroyed. Therefore, the US does not respect the Bahamas; the US will continue spying on the Bahamas, and the US will not give any answers to the Bahamas. And there's nothing you can do about it.

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Honestman 5 years, 6 months ago

How does it feel being ignored Fred? This us what the Bahamian people are having to deal with on a daily basis from the government that YOU are part of.

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hj 5 years, 6 months ago

According to FM Bahamians don't deserve any consultation regarding VAT. Apparently this is exactly how foreigners think of him also. He does not deserve any explanation.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 6 months ago

BINGO !!!!!!!!!!!!! I DONT FEEL SORRY FOR FRED ..... HE DESERVES THE COLD SHOULDER ........................... TRY FIX FOX HILL BULLA

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