Fiji considers tapping into CIA ‘global knowledge, expertise’ in war on drugs

"CIA in town" . . . the front page banner headline in Wednesday's Fiji Times. Image: Fiji Times screenshot APR

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka in Suva

Those spooked by the presence of a senior Central Intelligence Agency official in Fiji this week have nothing to fear.

At least, this was the view of Acting Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica as he hinted at the possibility of using the CIA’s “global knowledge and expertise” in the fight against drugs.

He said he met the CIA’s Deputy Director David Cohen on Tuesday in Suva to discuss areas of mutual interest.

Fiji's Acting prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica
Fiji’s Acting Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica . . . “Expertise will keep the border safe.” Image: Jonacani Lalakobau/The Fiji Times

They exchanged ideas on how both countries could benefit from each other.

“I’ve met him as the Acting Prime Minister, so it was a broad conversation around the international environment and the fact that we are becoming more and more of a transit point for drugs,” Kamikamica said.

There is a possibility of Fiji working with the CIA in its fight against drugs, said Kamikamica.

The CIA is the US government’s foreign intelligence service that gathers national security information from around the world.

‘Think about their expertise’
In response to questions from The Fiji Times, Kamikamica did not specify the nature of his discussions with Cohen.

“However, think about the security apparatus the Central Intelligence Agency has,” he said.

“The global knowledge and expertise they have.”

Asked why he discussed these areas of mutual interest when they fell under the ambit of the US State Department, Kamikamica said he also met other officials of the US government

“I also met the deputy Secretary of State and Ambassador at Large for cybersecurity separately in my office,” he said.

The developments of the past few days also gave Kamikamica an opportunity to allay potential public fear and disquiet over Cohen’s visit.

In response to concerns raised on social media over the presence of the CIA’s second in command, Kamikamica urged Fijians against what he described as “idle speculation”.

‘We have stable government’
“There is no need to be concerned,” he said. “We have a very stable government, we have a Prime Minister who is in total control of the Coalition.

“We are tracking well as a government,” said Kamikamica, adding that the important thing for the country was focusing on “how we work together to rebuild Fiji rather than getting preoccupied with idle speculation”.

“Expertise will keep the border safe, [so we ate] just looking at ways to collaborate.”

On the essence of their discussions on national issues, Kamikamica said “we didn’t really touch on that, more around just having an opportunity to collaborate”.

“When we have expertise like them at our doorstep, it is a very positive development and just to allow, not only Fiji, but the region to benefit.”

Nacanieli Tuilevuka is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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