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Panama president denies alleged phone tap request

Sunday, December 26, 2010

 



PANAMA CITY (AP) -- Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Saturday denied information from a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable suggesting he asked the United States to help install phone taps on his political opponents, but he acknowledged a request for help against criminals and organized crime figures.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from Aug. 22, 2009 quotes then-U.S. ambassador Barbara Stephenson as saying the newly elected conservative president asked for help with wiretaps soon after he took office on July 1.

"He clearly made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies," the cable states, adding Stephenson said "we will not be party to any effort to expand wiretaps to domestic political targets."

In a statement, Martinelli's office said "help in tapping the telephones of politicians was never requested," adding that "any such interpretation of that request is completely mistaken."

The government called it "a mistaken interpretation by U.S. authorities of the request made for assistance in combatting drug trafficking, crime and organized crime.".... MORE

SourceManila Bulletin

URL: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_WIKILEAKS_PANAMA_PHONE_TAPS?SITE=MANILA&SECTION=TOP_STORIES&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-12-25-22-55-49

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