Report of NSA spying unnerves wider Caribbean

| 21/05/2014

(CNS): A story in the specialist media publication The Intercept, created to report on the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, about NSA spying on the Bahamas telephone network has unnerved the wider region and fuelled existing concerns about the covert operations of the region’s mighty neighbour. According to the report, Snowden’s documents reveal that the US authorities have been engaged in a mass surveillance operation in which they are listening to virtually all mobile calls coming in and out of the islands. The local government has described the allegations as “startling”.

The National Security Agency recorded the audio of the calls in a top secret phone surveillance, which was reportedly implemented without the knowledge or consent of The Bahamas government, even though the islands do not present a terrorism or national security threat to the US by its own admission. The State Department has described The Bahamas as a “stable democracy that shares democratic principles, personal freedoms, and rule of law with the United States" and said in its own report about the country, that "there is little to no threat facing Americans from domestic (Bahamian) terrorism, war, or civil unrest.” 

However, it appears that the US used its relationship with the country regarding the issue of drug trafficking to engage in the covert snooping. Spies have been listening in to calls looking for ammunition in the so-called “war on drugs” and this has prompted the question about where else the US is eavesdropping illegally in the region.

The Bahamas government said it was looking for some explanation or comment from the US regarding the authenticity of the allegations.

“The news that there is spying and the collecting of the audio of mobile phone calls of Bahamians by agencies of another country is clearly startling,” the Bahamian Foreign Ministry said in the statement. “The facts must be determined. Otherwise, the behaviour described would be clearly illegal and on the face of it an abuse of powers. It would also represent a great moral failing on the part of its perpetrators, in addition to illegality which challenges the founding principles of the rule of law. It would also be an invasion of the privacy of the individual, a cherished democratic value and a legal right.”

According to media reports, NSA has not denied the allegations and has claimed that by working “with other nations, under specific and regulated conditions, mutually strengthens the security of all.” However, it is clear that in this case the US authorities were not ‘working with’ the Bahmas government, as they had no clue.

“Every day, NSA provides valuable intelligence on issues of concern to all Americans – such as international terrorism, cybercrime, international narcotics trafficking, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” NSA said. “NSA’s efforts are focused on ensuring the protection of the national security of the United States, its citizens, and our allies through the pursuit of valid foreign intelligence targets.”

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Comments (13)

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  1. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    One of the symptoms of psychosis is paranoia. At this point, if it wasn't evident before, the administration in the U.S. is…psychotic. It must be a terrible place to be when you can't even trust your friends. Or the few you still do have but can you blame them they have bulldozed their way around the planet for a century. Overthrowing democracies, supporting tyrants, invading at will and created far more enemies because of it.

  2. Ricki Tarr says:

    No worries Cayman Mother was spying on us long time before the Americans got into this Sick little game

  3. Anonymous says:

    The eagle is flying lower than usual now a days and waiting for it to fly just above ground level so that they can chew it to pieces is the bear and the dragon,its all playing out as we speak,open your eyes people this is not a joke.

     

     

     

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don't care if they're listening to my phone callsif it helps with drug/gun/human trafficking. I'm sure my conversations are far too boring to be concerned with. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    but … but … the Americans are our friends 🙁

  6. Anonymous says:

    The story contains an error.  The Intercept report said that virtually ALL cell phone calls in the Bahamas were being recorded, and not simply calls that entered or exited the Bahamas.  So, if you live in the Bahamas and place any call or receive any call on your cell phone, it is being recorded by the NSA and stored for at least a month.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we could ask the NSA to give us a recording of who really said what in the Tempura saga.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not only Mumma watching, but big Papa too…in some ways it is kind of comforting that someone knows all Caymans dirty secrets and could if they chose expose certain people…I would encourage them to do so, we might actually get something done about it then…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Spying is illegal everywhere. We do it anyway. We're going to keep on doing it. Why is anyone surprised?