Wire-tapping used to nab criminals

– T&T National Security Minister

(Trinidad Guardian) Wire-tapping within the law has been used in operations in the state of emergency, National Security Minister John Sandy said yesterday. He indicated that at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing. The state of emergency, the expected extension and other issues were discussed. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who would speak in Friday’s Lower House debate on the state of emergency and the extension, would say then if the state of emergency would be extended to three months, until November, or two more weeks. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said Tuesday: “It’s (the extension period) a matter for Parliament on Friday.”

At Tuesday’s media briefing, Government was asked if wire-tapping was used to intercept persons in the state of emergency operations since constitutional rights had been suspended in the current situation.

Ramlogan said: “Not as far as I’m aware…” Sandy said: “As far as I’m aware all interceptions that have happened so far are within the law and we have not gone outside of the law to do any of those interceptions.” Asked to confirm that wire-tapping was used in intelligence-gathering during the state of emergency, Sandy said: “There has always been.” Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs said the police were still examining the issue regarding the teenager who issued a Facebook death threat to the Prime Minister.

He said police would determine if any action would be taken. Asked if the girl had surrendered to the police, Gibbs said the police would take their time on the issue and “do the right thing for the individuals involved.” Ramlogan said the girl had described herself on the Facebook posting as 25 years old but it was subsequently discovered she was a teenager.

He said that would be considered. Chief of Defence Staff Kenrick Maharaj said any reports that Defence Force soldiers had been renting bullet-proof vests and other items to criminals would be investigated. He said the clothing had to be verified as authentic army-issue. If they were indeed army items, he said, it would be pursued in the military justice system.

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