Lebanon News

Siniora praises Cabinet for releasing telecoms data to authorities

MP Fouad Siniora addresses reporters in Sidon, south Lebanon, on Sunday, July 29, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Head of the Future Parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Siniora praised Sunday the government’s decision to provide security agencies with telecoms data that the opposition says is crucial for investigators probing alleged assassination attempts on political leaders in the country.

“It seems that as of this morning, the security agencies started to be provided with the telecoms data. This is an important step and a responsible decision by the cabinet after the president intervened,” Siniora told reporters in his home city of Sidon, south Lebanon.

“But, what is equally important is to have this done on a regular basis without any obstruction,” the opposition figure added.

Siniora said the March 14 coalition sought only the telecoms data and not its contents, stressing that the information contained within the telecoms data was not similar to obtaining wiretapping data.

He said that telecoms data assist security agencies in detecting “terrorist acts and attempted assassinations.”

Earlier this month, MP Butros Harb said he survived an attempted assassination after two detonators were found on top of the elevator inside the Beirut building housing his office.

The next day, the March 14 coalition said that the Cabinet was responsible for the attempted assassination Harb because it had withheld telecoms data it says is necessary for security bodies to uncover such plots.

A security source told The Daily Star Friday that all telecommunications data including IMSI that were requested by the security services to track down suspects in recent assassination attempts against March 14 officials have been handed to the police.

IMSI, or International Mobile Subscriber Identity, is a number used for identifying a mobile subscriber.

Separately, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi said Friday that all 768 telecoms data requests by the police in the month of June had been approved by the judicial committee.





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