CAIRO: The U.S. Department of State ruled out a relation between the closure of some foreign embassies in Cairo to the scheduled release of a State Department report on torture.
“I’d certainly point you to them (foreign embassies,) but I don’t believe they have cited any reference to the release of this report, nor have I seen any internal reporting on that. We certainly – just since you gave me the opportunity, we of course prioritize the safety and welfare of our personnel and work fervently to ensure our staff are protected worldwide,” the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday in the daily press briefing.
A U.S. security source told Reuters Tuesday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, which could be released Tuesday, contains graphics depicting CIA interrogation methods that may have included sexual threats and other methods, which some fear could spark an anti-Western reaction.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told Reuters, “There are some indications that … the release of the report could lead to greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world.”
The U.K.and Canada both closed their Cairo embassies Sunday over unspecified “security concerns,” while the Australian Foreign Ministry warned on Dec. 6 its citizens of “possible terror attacks.”
“We’re continuing to monitor developments, and Egypt will calibrate our security posture in accordance with the security situation on the ground,” Psaki added, saying that the announcement of Canada and UK is unrelated to the report.
On Dec. 4, the U.S. Department of states issued a security message for its embassy staff in Cairo, saying “In light of the heightened tensions and recent attacks on Westerners in the region, the U.S. Embassy has recommended that its staff carefully scrutinize their personal movements and consider staying close to their residences and neighborhoods over the coming period.”
The U.S. embassy in Cairo told The Cairo Post Tuesday that the staff in contact with Egyptian authorities, and the embassy is operating as usual, and declined to comment on the report.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty said Tuesday that the ministry is conducting coordination with security forces on the closure of the two embassies.
“Egypt does not hesitate to provide any security measures to protect diplomatic missions in Cairo, but without exaggeration in security applications, and that there should be a balance between securing embassies without limiting freedom of Egyptian citizens residing in the vicinity of embassies,” Atty added in a statement.
U.S. embassies in Egypt, Yemen, and Libya were attacked in September 2012, after an amateur film make in the U.S. called “The Innocence of Muslims,” was deemed blasphemous to Islam.