‘Social media is a threat to national security’


By Omar Bah The director general of the State Intelligence Services Ousman Sowe has said that social media is a threat to the country’s national security. “It is a powerful tool that is in the hands of many people posing a challenge which is further compounded by the difficulties trying to analyse what is said on social media, whether it is true or not. What is rumor or fact? That is the main challenge to our national security. It has become a platform where lot of viewpoints are expressed without the required expertise and knowledge,” DG Sowe told journalists at a recent media conference. Speaking further, Sowe said mere access to internet overnight alone has turned people security, budget, health and governance experts, because of the comfort zone in which they are and the lack of rules in the way one can just come up with a topic and discuss it. “So that is a challenge and unfortunately, without the required analysis put into what is being circulated audiences run to conclusions and form opinions,” he added. DG Sowe further stressed the need for Gambians to be careful of making statements that will undermine the country’s national security, adding that people should be responsible enough to make statements in a well and measured manner to avoid affecting national peace and security. He said the people who have access to government information should be very careful of how they handle the information. Alleged destruction of evidence Reacting to the alleged destruction of evidence at the former NIA, DG Sowe said: “We have not destroyed any evidence. What we are doing is part of the reform and the restructuring to provide fitting offices to operatives of this service. That is what we are doing in all our facilities across the country. In policy analysis you cannot use one case to define a policy. This is not one building, it is across the country.” SIS new direction DG Sowe said the SIS openness to the media is clear testimony that it has radically shifted from how it was operating in the past 22 years, adding that there are reforms currently in progress to improve state of affairs and make the service a public institution that serves the interest of the Gambian people. He further added that in the past two years the SIS has not made a single arrest or detained anybody. This, he added, is very profound to the reform agenda. “We have come with the #No more excesses. When we came in certainly we all know the environment in which we operated and knew if we must win the confidence of the people then we must cut on those things that have brought us those bad reputations.” The SIS, he stressed, is gradually gaining the trust of the Gambian people and the international community by extension. He also disclosed that the SIS intends to run a security belt around the country in support of the other sister security services to ensure stability in the country. Capacity Mr Sowe said since he took office the SIS has trained over one hundred of its staff home and abroad and continues to provide training. “Today the SIS staffers are highly trained and motivated. We were also able to rehabilitate our existing facilities across the country. If we have it our way, what we have in Banjul will be in all our facilities across the country,” he concluded.]]>