By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday she believes the government created the National Intelligence Agency in the Bahamas to accommodate the National Security Agency and their alleged recording of cell phone conversations in this country.
Mrs Butler-Turner was refuting claims made by Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell who said on Tuesday that based on information he received, the purported interception and recording of cellphone conversations would have taken place during the previous FNM administration and that the FNM deputy was only putting up a smokescreen to deflect attention from their possible involvement.
“According to all of the documents that have been released by (Edward) Snowden and other documents that I have read online, they have come in to use post-2012, after the change of government. So it is disingenuous for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to even attempt to bring the FNM into this spying that has taken place,” Mrs Butler-Turner said.
“The reality is that as far as I am concerned there is nothing that implicates the FNM to any of that. I think the larger question needs to be the government of the Bahamas since they want to engage in this is to answer, is the newly formed NIA working along with the NSA? I think that question needs to be asked to the Minister of National Security, who of his own willing has said there is no legal framework for NIA.”
Mrs Butler-Turner was criticised after she made public that there was a secret agency in the Bahamas that may be spying on its citizens. National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage has since denied that there is any spying going on.
The FNM deputy said she does not want the Minister of Foreign Affairs to disregard the truth of what is happening in the country by what she called an “illegal arm of government.”
She said she thinks Mr Mitchell has done an excellent job confusing everyone with what is happening with the NIA and the NSA situation.
“Obviously with regards to the NSA, obviously these allegations have been circulated worldwide and it is the duty of the Foreign Affairs Minister to determine exactly what is going on in terms of other countries perhaps spying on the Bahamas,” she said.
“So we (the FNM) have no questions to answer in that regard. Their duty is to the Bahamian people and this administration needs to find out what is going on in our country as it relates to NSA and report to us.”