NSA Spying on Foreign Leaders: Of Course Obama Knew

-With the notable exception of the
Washington Post, most of the major coverage of Tuesday’s House
Intelligence Committee hearing on the NSA, leads with the fact
that the Obama White House knew about the surveillance of foreign
* NY Times: “Spying Known At Top Levels, Officials Say” —
Reports that DNI Clapper testified “that the N.S.A. had kept
senior officials in the National Security Council informed of
surveillance it was conducting in foreign countries. He did not
specifically say whether … Obama was told, … but he appeared
to challenge assertions in recent days the White House had been
in the dark…”
* Washington Times: “Clapper: Obama aware of spying on U.S.
allies; Contradicts administration.” The lead is that top U.S.
intel officials acknowledged that “Obama and other senior White
House officials were well aware of U.S. surveillance activities
targetting leaders of friendly foreign nations,” contradicting
what the Administration has been insinuating, that Obama was
unaware. Reports that U.S. intel has been monitoring world
leaders for decades, and every President in modern history has
been aware of this. Obama has specifically received intelligence
briefings concerning Netanyahu, the Pakistan Prime Minister,
Putin, and Ban Ki-moon.
* Tribune news service, in Stars & Stripes: “White House
approved spying on allies, US intelligence officials say” —
Leads with: “The White House and State Department signed off on
surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign
leaders, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said
Monday, pushing back against assertions that President Barack
Obama and his aides were unaware of the high-level eavesdropping.
Professional staff members at the National Security Agency and
other U.S. intelligence agencies are angry, these officials say,
believing the president has cast them adrift as he tries to
distance himself from the disclosures by former NSA contractor
Edward Snowden that have strained ties with close allies.”
* Foreign Policy’s The Cable, by Shane Harris: “Intel Vets:
Of Course Obama Knew About NSA Spying” — Everyone from the
President to Congressional overseers are claiming they had no
idea about spying on foreign leaders. “But that claim is
laughable, according to veteran members of the intelligence
community, former White House advisers, and now one of the NSA’s
main overseers in Congress. A former White House official, who
served in a prior administration, said it was essentially
impossible that the President wouldn’t know foreign leaders were
being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, and principally
the NSA, as part of regular operations aimed at keeping him
informed about diplomatic relations and negotiations. Information
on foreign leaders that is based on recorded calls or other
signals intelligence is `unique,’ the former official said, and
its nature is obvious to anyone reading or hearing an
intelligence report or receiving a briefing.” The President gets
briefed on foreign leaders before any meetings with them, and it
would be a firing offense not to tell the President that the
information came from spying. “It’s almost a dereliction not to
tell him

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