Embassy closures show al-Qaida still poses major threat

Expert tells ‘Post’ that some in the US have said al-Qaida is dead, but closures demonstrate they are wrong.

US intelligence agencies picked up on an al-Qaida plot to attack Western diplomatic delegations through surveillance technologies, members of Congress briefed on the matter said on Sunday.

That led to Washington issuing a worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al-Qaida may be planning attacks, and deciding to close 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday, located in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

The US State Department on Sunday announced an extended closure of embassies and consulates “out of an abundance of caution.”

The State Department stated that the move to extend closures was “not an indication of a new threat stream,” but rather an effort to protect local religious customs for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan as well as the protection of embassy employees and visitors.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows for the collection of communications intelligence concerning targets outside the United States.

Telecom service providers are compelled by court orders to supply the relevant information, as in the recently uncovered programs housed in the National Security Agency.

The American public continues to debate the breadth of the surveillance programs, after Edward Snowden revealed their reach within the communications networks domestic to the United States.

Friday’s warning follows recent attacks on the US Embassy in Egypt and one on the US Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.


The Jerusalem Post has the full article
(Photo: Wikipedia)

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