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'When Will Nation Know If It Is Victim Of Spying?'

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Hubert Chipman

By KYLE WALKINE

Tribune Staff Reporter

kwalkine@tribunemedia.net

HUBERT Chipman, FNM Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, said he is curious as to when The Bahamas will get an answer, if any, on the alleged recording of cellphone conversations by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Last Tuesday Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had stepped in to deal with the matter and that a report into the accuracy of claims that Bahamian phone calls are being recorded would be handed over within seven days.

Yesterday marked the seventh day, however, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis told The Tribune that as far as he knows, no report had been given to the Bahamas as yet.

Mr Mitchell was out of the country yesterday attending the 8th UK-Caribbean Forum in the United Kingdom.

“I’m hopeful that we get an answer,” Mr Chipman said, questioning if the US would ever give a confirmation or denial that the NSA is using a programme called SOMALGET to intercept, record and possibly store for up to 30 days the cellphone calls made in the Bahamas.

“According to what the minister said last week in the House of Assembly we should be getting some type of a report from the US Embassy in a week’s time. I only can wait to see what’s going on with that.”

On Thursday, June 5, Mr Mitchell said the matter had been “dealt with” and promised to give a full report on the matter in Parliament.

However, when he spoke in the House of Assembly last week, the Fox Hill MP said the government is awaiting a full report from the American authorities on the claims.

Yesterday, Mr Chipman voiced concerns with Mr Mitchell’s handling of the spying allegations.

“To be honest, when you look at it, Mr Mitchell went away when all of that came about. I personally thought he should have been the one initiating the contact between the Bahamas and the US. However, he chose to use the Bahamas’ representative in the US, Eugene Newry, in order to deal with it later on.”

“Then he went to the Organisation of American States (OAS), which I didn’t understand at that time. I thought that he should have done that a long time ago.”

According to international reports, the government’s American lawyers from the firm Hogan Lovells have been directed to give advice and representation to the Bahamas government on “general diplomatic representation and foreign policy matters, US laws, regulations, policies and actions by US Congress, Executive Branch and US government agencies that may affect or relate to the activities and interests (of The Bahamas), including but not limited to surveillance and privacy matters ...”

The website cites a federal disclosure document from the US Department of Justice, which The Tribune has seen, which was reportedly signed on May 30 by Hogan Lovells. The firm has represented the Bahamas for 41 years.

Comments

TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

Comrade Chippie distant solar system are you living on? We have American tourists being mugged, raped and robbed, the numbers rackets piggybacking off US States Lotteries, money laundering, the Chinese government who themselves are not shy when it comes to spying, with cozy ties Bahamaland. We have corruption, human, drugs and gun trafficking through our waters, US citizen tax dodgers ....and you have to ask, IF the US government are spaying over and on Bahamaland?

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Reality_Check 2 months, 1 week ago

Keep your eye on the only two balls that matter most Chippie: (1) VAT is horribly regressive and will cripple our economy; whatever additional revenue comes will quickly evaporate on necessary expanded welfare safety nets for the significantly increased poor; and (2) PM is proposing to try legalize the illicit activities of the numbers' bosses, thereby illegally thwarting the will of the Bahamian people as expressed in a duly held referendum instigated by him.

The PM has instructed his crew to throw up into the air as many controversial and distracting balloons as possible in an effort to have the public's attention taken away from the only two balls that really matter to him most right now. Tell your side to get back on track.

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Purcell 2 months, 1 week ago

You stupid or what? The NSA's job is to spy. Of course they are spying on the Bahamas. You need to be told of this fact? Get the fuck outta here.

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TheMadHatter 2 months, 1 week ago

The nation can know today. YES they are spying on us. That is why Mr. Snowden did what he did, to alert his fellow humans what is happening on Earth.

What are humans doing about it? Nothing except watching TV.

What should they be doing? Boycotting EVERYTHING (not spending any money) every Wednesday. Call it "Wake Up Wednesdays". You don't have to tell anybody - just don't buy anything. Put gas in your car the day before or the morning after. But of course, that requires a small sacrifice - and nobody is willing to that in order to save the entire planet. Too high a price to pay.

TheMadHatter

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generalcrazy 2 months, 1 week ago

The US already answered this, they said they will continue to do whatever it takes to gather intelligence. And they don't need to have any "hook up" in this country to do that.

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Cobalt 2 months, 1 week ago

Omgoodness. This man calls himself an active politician and has to question whether the US is spying on us or not??? What planet are these political leaders living on??? Furthermore.... this spying controversy initially began with the allegations that the NIA under Perry Christie was responsible for eavesdropping on bahamian's phone conversations. What ever became of that??? Did Perry Christie just assume that if he activated one of his smoke screens we would all just forget about it???

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akbar 2 months, 1 week ago

Intelligence gathering, spying is the pillar stone of any developed nation. Anyone politician who does not know that is clueless to world affairs. We have as a business partner, China, who has one of the most intricate and advanced spy network in the modern world. Do we think China is spying on us? Snowden is a traitor and probably was a spy himself planted by the USSR. Spy games have been over the years an intense display of geo-political chess that will continue to go on as long as nations exist. We are being spied on ,will continue to be spied and will be spied on by not only the US.

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Most likely this whole issue of eves dropping will silently disappear from the headlines, or the Bahamian government will announce that it has reached an amicable agreement with the US government over the matter. Of course the details of the agreement will never be revealed. Have you ever wondered about the design of that strange looking building near Montagu that is the Chinese Embassy? Some of the design is to help stop the building being bugged. Do you think the reason for so many dropped calls on the cellular network is because they are tapping all cellphones in this country? And what about when you call certain cell numbers and get that echo in the phone..is that the calls being tapped by the local NIA?

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