Prime Minister Hun Sen accused analysts of hypocrisy on Friday for taking aim at the government over leaks of alleged telephone conversations between Cambodia’s political rivals, while staying silent over the surveillance techniques of the CIA.
The criticism appeared to reference the release last week of more than 8,000 pages by WikiLeaks that featured a host of the U.S. intelligence agency’s alleged hacking secrets, including that it could tap into mobile devices and televisions to spy on the public.
The prime minister’s remarks, at the inauguration of a pagoda in Prey Veng province, come as the government has faced criticism over the leaks in the country, which included conversations between Mr. Hun Sen and CNRP President Kem Sokha.
“Now begin the earthquakes…but there are no analysts coming out to analyze,” Mr. Hun Sen said in reference to the new CIA revelations.
“Now the U.S. eavesdrops on phone conversations and catches messages sent through WhatsApp and so on…which they get easily from satellites,” he said.
At one point, he claimed 70 percent of phone conversations in the U.S. are monitored, though he did not cite a source for the statistic.
He then accused government critics, who have questioned the legality of recent leaks in Cambodia, of sparing the U.S. of similar scrutiny.
“In Cambodia they say it’s illegal whenever something is leaked,” he said.
“Now, nobody is daring to curse the U.S. and CIA of committing illegal acts. The CIA eavesdrops on the phone conversations of Europe’s leaders,” he said, in apparent reference to previous claims that the intelligence agency tapped the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Be cautious, anyone sending pornographic images,” the premier said, laughing as he joked with the crowd.
Mr. Hun Sen then reverted to his well-trodden rhetoric of warning those in attendance of the importance of peace and stability—usually a reference to the dangers of regime change in Cambodia.
“The case I have repeatedly raised, again and again, is the matter of peace, that we need to keep the peace,” he said.
“If [you] cannot keep peace, do not ever think that you will be able to talk about democracy, human rights or development.”
© 2017, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.