The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

June 27, 2013

Ecuador heats rhetoric as Obama downplays Snowden

(Continued)

QUITO, Ecuador —

Other analysts, however, saw not confusion but internal divisions in the Ecuadorean government.

Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank focused on Latin America, said many in Washington believed that Correa, a leftist elected to a third term in February, had been telegraphing a desire to moderate and take a softer tack toward the United States and private business.

Harder-core leftists led by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino may be seeking to maintain a tough line, he said, a division expressing itself in confusing messages.

"I think there really are different factions within the government on this," Shifter said. "Correa wants to become more moderate. That has been the signal that has been communicated in Washington."

Embarrassment for the Obama administration over the surveillance revelations continued as the British newspaper The Guardian reported that it allowed the National Security Agency for more than two years to collect records detailing email and Internet use by Americans. The story cited documents showing that under the program a federal judge could approve a bulk collection order for Internet metadata every 90 days.

A senior Obama administration confirmed the program and said it ended in 2011, according to The Guardian. The records were first collected during the Bush administration and involved "communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States."

The report said that eventually the NSA was allowed to "analyze communications metadata associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States," according to a 2007 Justice Department memo marked secret.

The U.S. administration is supposed to decide by Monday whether to grant Ecuador export privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences, a program meant to spur development and growth in poorer countries. The deadline was set long before the Snowden affair.

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