Ali Watkins, David Lightman and Adam Baron
August 5, 2013
The closing of U.S. embassies in 21 predominantly Muslim countries
and a broad caution about travel during August that the State Department
issued on Friday touched off debate Sunday over the National Security
Agency’s sweeping data collection programs.
Congressional supporters of the program, appearing on Sunday morning
talk shows, said the latest rounds of warnings of unspecified threats
showed that the programs were necessary, while detractors said there was
no evidence linking the programs, particularly the massive collection
of cell phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans, to the vague
warnings of a possible terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, there were no reports of violence or unusual activity in
any of the countries where the United States had kept its embassies and
consulates closed when they would have ordinarily been open on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the State Department announced that embassies and
consulates in 16 countries would remain closed throughout the week,
including four African nations that had not been on the original list.
Diplomatic posts in five other countries would reopen Monday, the State
Department said, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq, where
terrorist attacks have been frequent.