Government officials in the Bahamas want their U.S. counterparts to explain why the National Security Agency has been intercepting and recording every cell phone call taking place on the island nation.
Responding to a report published by The Intercept on Monday, which revealed that the NSA has been targeting the Bahamas’ entire mobile network and storing the audio of every phone call traversing the network for up to 30 days, Bahamian officials told the Nassau Guardian that they had contacted the U.S. and vowed to release a statement regarding the revelations.
In a front-page story published Tuesday, Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell told the Guardian that his government had reached out to the U.S. for an explanation. Mitchell said the cabinet was set to meet to discuss the matter and planned to issue a statement on the surveillance. The Bahamian minister of national security told the paper he intended to launch an inquiry into the NSA’s surveillance but did not provide a comment.
A source familiar with the situation told The Intercept that the cabinet meeting had indeed taken place, but an official in Mitchell’s office said there would be no comment Tuesday. “You’ll have to call back,” said the official, who did not identify herself.
Calls to the office of the prime minister went unanswered, as did a call to Bahamas Telecommunications Company, the Bahamas’ largest communications provider.
U.S. officials at the embassy in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, meanwhile, told the Guardian it would not comment on “every specific alleged intelligence activity.”
“The United States values its relationship with the Bahamas,” Neda Brown, a U.S. embassy spokesperson, told the paper. Contacted by The Intercept, Brown directed inquires to the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemispheres. The bureau did not return a request for comment made late Tuesday.
In addition to the Bahamas, The Intercept‘s report also revealed NSA’s targeting of mobile networks in Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines. Calls and emails to the embassies of each country were not returned Tuesday.
By Ryan Devereaux20 May 2014, 5:58 PM EDT 151
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