US embassy closures used to bolster case for NSA surveillance programs / embassies and consulates were going to be closed anyways in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration

Engineering Evil

Congress told that NSA monitoring led to interception of al-Qaida threats but privacy campaigners fear ulterior political motives

US embassy in Tel Aviv
Motorists drive past the US embassy in Tel Aviv. The US extended embassy closures by a week in the Middle East and Africa. Photograph: Nir Elias/Reuters

US embassies in the Middle East are to remain closed for the rest of the week as supporters of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance powers used the unspecified terror alert to bolster the case against reining in the controversial measures.

The closures follow the alleged interception of al-Qaida communications in Yemen, which intelligence committee members in Congress have been told were collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – not the bulk surveillance programs disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington…

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