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Whereabouts of ‘spy’ material a mystery

marciadottin, [email protected]

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PORT OF SPAIN – Even as the new Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration seeks to balance the security needs of law enforcement agencies and the privacy rights of citizens against governmental overreach with the passage of new surveillance legislation, there are reports the prime minister, who is also chairman of the National Security Council, had possession of the illegally-obtained spy material.
Persad-Bissessar was not immediately available for comment but sources, speaking on condition of strict anonymity, said the prime minister, in her capacity as security chairman, was given electronic data on civilians spied on by the state-run rogue intelligence agency SIA or Security Intelligence Agency.
Reached for comment, Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs made it clear the whereabouts of the data was information he was not prepared to divulge.
“I will not disclose where police material is being kept,” Gibbs said to Sunday Express enquiries about who had possession of the clandestinely obtained spy material.
Told there was justifiable concern about the material falling into the hands of any politician, the commissioner said the SIA did not fall under the purview of the Police Service and was a “government agency”. He declined further comment.
Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said he played no part in the SIA investigation and had no knowledge about where the illegally obtained files were being kept.
“I know nothing,” said Williams. “It is a fact. I have no information.”
National Security Minister John Sandy also appeared to be in the dark about the current location or trail of the SIA spy material.
He told the Sunday Express he had no knowledge of where the files were and had deliberately stayed out of the police investigation. His junior minister Subhas Panday also said he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the SIA-collected material .
A senior government official, who requested anonymity, said the prime minister, in her capacity as chairman of the National Security Council, had possession of the material until recently. He said the material was passed over to Commissioner Gibbs recently. Just how recent, he declined to say.
No state or government official was prepared to say where the material
went after the rogue spy agency was busted on November 10 by a combined team of officers from the Police Special Branch and the Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau, which falls under the Office of the Attorney General.
(Trinidad Express)