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Monday, September 6, 2010     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Dubai police chief: U.S. used Blackberry to spy

ABU DHABI — For the first time, the United Arab Emirates has accused the United States of espionage efforts in the Gulf Cooperation Council state.


A senior security official said the UAE believes the United States was spying on the Gulf Arab state. The official said U.S. intelligence was using the BlackBerry cellular phone to intercept sensitive calls in the UAE.

"The Unites States is the primary beneficiary of having no controls over the BlackBerry, as it has an interest to spy on the UAE," Dubai police chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Al Tamim said.

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In an interview with the UAE daily Al Khaleej, Al Tamim said the fear of U.S. espionage was the reason that the emirates imposed restrictions on BlackBerry. He said Israel and NATO states could also be using BlackBerry to spy on the UAE.

"The West has accused us of curbing the liberties of BlackBerry users, while America, Israel, Britain and other countries are allowed access to all transferred data," Al Tamim said on Sept. 3.

This marked the first time the UAE has accused Washington of spying. Al Tamim has been regarded as the leading security official in the UAE and responsible for the investigation of the assassination of Hamas's procurement chief in Dubai in January 2010, an attack blamed on Israel.

Al Tamim did not elaborate on U.S. espionage efforts in the UAE. The U.S. military has used the UAE for combat air and other missions as well as an F-16 training center.

The UAE has given BlackBerry, with 500,000 users in the GCC state, until Oct. 11 for access to encrypted messages. Officials said espionage agents and saboteurs could use BlackBerry for advanced encrypted communications.

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