US destroyed ‘sensitive Yemen embassy documents’ before pullout

US destroyed ‘sensitive Yemen embassy documents’ before pullout

HomeUSForeign Policy Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:44PM

American diplomats and staff at the US embassy in Yemen have destroyed a number of sensitive documents and other materials before pulling out, according to local embassy employees.

One employee told AFP on Wednesday that US Marine “destroyed their weapons, sensitive documents, telecommunications equipment, computers, telephones and photocopiers before leaving the embassy.”

Another employee said they “destroyed everything they couldn’t take with them,” including a large number of vehicles.

According to secret US documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency and other US agencies use embassy buildings across the world for spying and other disruptive activities.

In November 1979, a group of Iranian university students stormed the US embassy in Tehran, also known as the “den of espionage”. They believed the US mission had turned into a center of spying aimed at overthrowing the Islamic establishment in Iran following the Islamic Revolution earlier that year.

Documents found at the compound later confirmed claims by Iranian students that Washington was using its Tehran embassy to plot to topple the new Islamic establishment of Iran.

US officials said on Tuesday Washington was completely closing its embassy in Yemen, where the Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement have taken control of the capital.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said Washington might request the Turkish or Algerian embassies in Sana’a to represent American interests in the country.

In September 2014, Ansarullah fighters took control of Sana’a, following a four-day battle with army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the half-brother of the country’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster. The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced Saleh to step down.

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