President Obama will stop the NSA spying on allies, the head of US Senate’s Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said in a statement after the scandal prompted by the news that the US spy agency intercepted German Chancellor’s Angela Merkel cell phone from 2002 along with 34 other world leaders. Too late. With this statement they admit it’s true. The trust is completely broken. The damage done.
The reaction only arrived after the scandal was out on press reports, and is hard to believe that the president of the United States knew nothing about it before. If the spying program on Merkel began on 2002, it was ordered during Bush’s mandate. But was not stopped and continued during Obama’s mandate. Feinstein says that is her understanding “that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem”. A big problem indeed if that is true. It means the NSA kept the president in the dark in such an important and sensitive operation.
Stopping the program is not enough. The allies spied, not only Merkel, are waiting for explanations. And if the president was kept in the dark that calls for an investigation.
And what about the spying on average citizens of ally countries? What about millions of communications spied in France, Germany and Spain among others? there will be explanations for us also?. They are too focused in presidents, prime ministers and politicians, so I’m pessimist. I don’t think so.
Below is Feinstein’s statement:
“It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community.
“Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed. Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased.
“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies—including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany—let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed.
“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort.
“It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem.
“The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support. But as far as I’m concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing. To that end, the committee will initiate a major review into all intelligence collection programs.”
National Security Agency
United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence