The U.S. spying scandal is spreading to Asia, where the foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia have chastised American diplomats and publicly denounced the National Security Agency.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman also complained to Australian diplomats after reports that Australian intelligence agencies were cooperating with the NSA.
The Sydney Morning Herald last week reported that the U.S. embassies in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are engaged in electronic surveillance of the governments in those South Asian nations.
Mr. Aman on Friday summoned Lee McClenny, the deputy ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia, and Miles Kupa, the Australian ambassador in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. McClenny represented U.S. Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun, who was out of town.
The foreign minister delivered protest notes to each diplomat “in response to the alleged spying activities carried out by the two embassies” in the Malaysian capital.
In Indonesia, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa last week complained to Kristen F. Bauer, who has been acting U.S. ambassador since Ambassador ScotMarciel left Jakarta in July.
“Indonesia cannot accept and protests strongly over the report about wiretapping facilities at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta,” the foreign minister told reporters.
President Obama stepped up to the plate to reward a loyal political supporter who once played outfield for his favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox.
Mr. Obama last week nominated Mark D. Gilbert to serve as ambassador to New Zealand.
Mr. Gilbert, who spent only 11 days in the major leagues during the 1985 season, is believed to be the only former professional baseball player to be nominated for such a high rank in the U.S. diplomatic service.
“Baseball is America’s pastime, so what better way to represent the United States overseas than with someone who began his career as a major league baseball player?” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Associated Press.
Mr. Gilbert, a 57-year-old bank executive and former Obama fundraiser, played in only seven games for the White Sox before he was sent back to a minor league team in Buffalo, N.Y. He also served two terms as deputy finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
By James Morrison
The Washington Times
Sunday, November 3, 2013
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