Tired of CIA spying? Delete Facebook, says Venezuela minister

Prisons Minister Iris Varela has told citizens to cancel their Facebook accounts. (AFP)

Prisons Minister Iris Varela has told citizens to cancel their Facebook accounts. (AFP)

The minister was referring to recent revelations about US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor who is stuck in a Moscow airport while seeking to avoid capture by the United States, last month leaked details about American intelligence agencies obtaining information from popular websites including Facebook.

"Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts, you've been working for free as CIA informants. Review the Snowden case!" wrote Prisons Minister Iris Varela on her Twitter account.

Venezuela has offered to provide asylum for Snowden, but he has not responded and appears unable to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.

He exposed a programme known as Prism that relied on customer data supplied by major technology companies.

"Countries and people that have fallen victim to gringo spying should sue the United States to ensure fair compensation. We're going to bankrupt the US economy!" wrote Varela, known for radical rhetoric and ardent support of the late socialist leader Hugo Chávez.

No wrongdoing by BAH
Meanwhile, the US Air Force said it sees no evidence that a defence contractor that employed Snowden is responsible for his disclosure of classified US information – a finding that allows the company to continue doing business with the government.

The air force said Booz Allen Hamilton, also known as BAH, notified it about the Snowden case as required under an administrative agreement signed after an ethics lapse in 2012.

"At this time ...
there is no evidence that at the time of Mr Snowden's misconduct, BAH knew or should have known, approved, or acquiesced in Snowden's misconduct," an air force official said.

"There is no evidence that the Snowden matter constitutes a reoccurrence of the practices that led to the air force proposing BAH for debarment," the official said. "To date, the air force ... is satisfied with BAH's efforts to improve it ethics and compliance programmes, and its internal controls."

Booz Allen Hamilton generated $5.76-billion in revenues, mainly through government work, in the year ended March 31, a drop of just under 2% from the year earlier.

This is the first government agency to clear BAH's handling of the Snowden case.

James Fisher, spokesperson for BAH, said the company had complied fully with its agreement with the air force, which requires notification of any further ethics incidents. – Reuters

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