Kwesi Pratt: I Regret Not Recording Conversation With US Officials

Editor of the Insight newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has expressed regret over his inability to record interactions he had with some US officials at the request of its Embassy in Accra, even though he was advised to take such precautions. The spotlight has been on the seasoned journalist in the wake of recent leaked cables report released by the whistle blower website, Wikileaks, most especially over comments he allegedly made regarding the smoking habits of Nana Akufo-Addo. He is said to have told officials of the US Embassy that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer smokes marijuana but does not dabble in cocaine. Shedding more light on the infamous meeting in an interview with Suhini Alhassan on Radio Gold, Mr Pratt lamented not having recorded what transpired, adding that he should have hearkened to the advice from one of his colleagues to secretly record the conversation. “…The US embassy has behaved in a most despicable manner and ought to be condemned in the strongest possible term. In my own case, I had a call from the US Embassy that they had a team from Washington here to observe the election and that they wanted a meeting with these white guys and the meeting took place in my office but before the meeting, I went to the Socialist Forum that this is the request that has come from the US Embassy and we discussed it. My deepest regret is that I did not accept the recommendation of one of the comrades that the conversation should be recorded. If I had accepted it, today, they would be no doubt what was discussed and what was not discussed…,” he said. According to him, he did not decide to record the conversation because it was not part of his nature and moreover, finds it unethical to secretly record conversations without telling those involved. He said when he heard that his name had been mentioned in one of the cables; he was surprised and wondered why his name would come up in leaked diplomatic cables. “…If you look at the reports that they filed you will realize that there is something very interesting…this US embassy officials and CIA operatives and so on are not better than us…they are just like all of us…If you read all the cables, one interesting thing which hits you in the face is that we have a major national security challenge. This is because if all these prominent officials, politicians and so on…Imams and all, are rushing to the US embassy to volunteer such information and so on, then there is a national security challenge that needs to be addressed…” he added. “There is the need to come up with some policy or regulation which controls contacts of public officials with foreign institutions and foreign personalities, especially hostile foreign institutions and hostile personalities. Otherwise, we will be sleeping in the room and our legs will be outside….the US is really despicable….we should be deeply frightened about this excessive recklessness of the US, we should be deeply frightened about how big diplomats peddle rumours as a basis for formulating policy to deal with the rest of the world…I’m really frightened and we ought to do something about it,” he suggested.