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Turnquest: U.S. had no consent to record calls

By KYLE WALKINE

Tribune Staff Reporter

kwalkine@tribunemedia.net

FORMER National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest yesterday denied giving any consent to the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) to record cell phone conversations in the Bahamas. 

His comments came a day after a local daily reported that, according to confidential documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the highest levels of cell phone surveillance took place shortly before the 2012 general election, when the Ingraham administration was in power.

Mr Turnquest said as far as he knows, neither he nor anyone else in the former government gave any approval to the US to monitor local cell phone activity. 

“Obviously, there was no approval on my part,” he said.

“I have indicated on more than one occasion that it was not done to my knowledge. So I think that it is something that cannot be.”

Mr Turnquest added that if the spying claims are true, then the surveillance was “done illegally.”

“The Bahamas is an offshore nation, just off the coast of the US,” he added. “So if they were in fact recording our phone calls, then they were doing so as a part of their interests. But I can say that there was absolutely no request made to the government that I was a part of for there to be any interception or recording of cellphone conversations.”

Mr Turnquest added that the allegations of NSA spying on other countries are embarrassing to the US.

“We see what happened to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, with regards to the NSA,” he said. “This, I assume is just the latest episode in a string of allegations that the US is listening in on conversations being held in other countries.”

Last October, US President Barack Obama had to personally assure France’s president of the process surrounding the way the US gathers intelligence. 

However, less than three months ago the German chancellor was named one of the world leaders that was being spied on by the NSA. 

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Philip Davis recently suggested that the FNM was aware of the NSA’s purported snooping and that whatever occurred appeared to have taken place before the May 7, 2012 election.

But Mr Turnquest said he believes that Mr Davis’ accusations are only a “deflection of attention” away from the current government’s inability to handle the situation.  

When asked to comment yesterday, Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage said he would have to have a look at the report prepared by the US about the accuracy of the claims before he could speak on the issue.

Comments

Emac 9 years, 9 months ago

This clown shouldn't even be talkin bout anything to do with governing or any external events pertaining to the Bahamas, because when he was in power he didn't have a clue.

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Purcell 9 years, 9 months ago

Bullshit. The method used was to physically tap into the network layer of communication with plugs and hardware at BTC not listening in wirelessly. Tommy do you suggest the NSA broke into BTC and installed invisible gadgets that nobody took notice of?

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LLFFBB 9 years, 9 months ago

They need to return that computer the U.S donated to RBPF "to help fight crime". That's where they collecting info from. Never knew why we needed a computer donated from them but hey they like free stuff.

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SP 9 years, 9 months ago

9 to 1 and box the 4 ball, I'll bet my next 3 paychecks that Hubert Ingraham, Perry Christie and the top brass of BTC all colluded with the U.S. to spy on Bahamians,.......and share information as well!

The whole scheme was simply above Brent Symonette Fred Mitchell, Marlon Johnson and everybody else's pay scale.

What the U.S. Ingraham, Christie and BTC top brass forgot, was the first rule of the Mafia......

"Three people can keep a secret only if two of them are dead"!

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TalRussell 9 years, 9 months ago

And, you thought they could be tough on PM Christie. Comrades how can a newspaper published for the 99% exclusive reading by red shirts, be so vehemently ready to lead a revolt to any lingering leadership aspirations of one of their very own former cabinet ministers and party leader?

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Emac 9 years, 9 months ago

Because Tal, when you are impartial ya call a spade a spade. This man couldn't even lead a litter of swines out of their sty. He is completely useless!

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