Obama Doesn’t Apologize for Spying on World Leaders

Obama3President Obama laid out his new intelligence policy Friday at the Department of Justice where he defended the practices of the National Security Agency while also announcing the end of storing phone records of U.S. citizens.

What he didn’t do was apologize for U.S. intelligence agencies spying on foreign government leaders. The leaders of notable U.S. government allies to include Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have criticized the U.S. when it was uncovered that U.S. intelligence agencies had collected intelligence on them and their governments.

Like much of the information recently discovered about NSA’s collection practices, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released data that connected the U.S. to spying on the world leaders. Rousseff said before the U.N. General Assembly that this sort of surveillance was “a breach of international law.”

Obama said he has made clear to the intelligence community that “unless there is a compelling national security purpose — we will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies.”

That doesn’t mean the U.S. will not continue to collect information to gauge “the intentions of governments,” since that is something all governments do.

“We will not apologize simply because our services may be more effective. But heads of state and government with whom we work closely, and on whose cooperation we depend, should feel confident that we are treating them as real partners. The changes I’ve ordered do just that,” Obama said.

However, Obama did acknowledge the harm it has done to certain diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and some countries.

“I’ve instructed my national security team, as well as the intelligence community, to work with foreign counterparts to deepen our coordination and cooperation in ways that rebuild trust going forward,” Obama said.

The president went on to say that he would much rather just pick up the phone than tap the phone lines to foreign heads of state.

“And the leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to learn what they think about an issue, I will pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance.”


27 Comments on "Obama Doesn’t Apologize for Spying on World Leaders"

  1. Feel is borderline invasion of privacy but allies should understand that this type of 'spying' can possibly expose corruption, criminals & even spies that are in foreign governments.

    I am sure it is more used for then it's intended purpose but really, if the NSA can do it, most likely so can experienced cyberwarriors.

    Curious what was really learned.

  2. What he didn’t do was apologize for U.S. intelligence agencies spying on foreign government leaders.
    And why would he? Everyone spies on everyone, as has been going on since the beginning of time. If anyone was surprised that we've been spying on everyone of significance, or any foreign government, they've either been living in a dream world or simply haven't been paying attention.

  3. I don't think he should. Most nations are involve in some form of intelligence gathering, some more sophisticated than others. It is really nothing to apologise about.

  4. The President also reminded us that online and other businesses do things like deposit 'cookies' in your computer to 'spy' on what YOU do………

    Also he reminded us that those same 'other' countries that cried, when Snowden spilled the beans , help the NSA keep a wide net around the planet and gladly accept intel from our fishing….

    The President is keeping his oath to protect his country even if it does make us a bit comfortable…..

  5. make that Uncomfortable …Thank You…..

  6. If Obama had held up a sign saying "All American Products now With Anthrax" it couldn't be more damaging to American IT industry.

    Already deals are being lost because the product is American and cant be trusted and in the end it will cost us trillions.

  7. Why should he apologize? After all, he’s the Messiah who only wants whats best for the world community.

  8. Why should he? How is it that the media thinks the US the only country that does this? It's funny how a blind eye gets turned about the fact that Snowden is in Russia, a country which would benefit the most from anything that makes the US look bad, and considering how consistent and streamlined these "revelations" are, most likely is manipulating the media, yet focuses on these stupid PowerPoints. It's literally to the point of reliance that anybody with access could go in, write "Key Highlight: Collection on US Congress", and boom there's a story about the collection on the US Congress.

    It's kind of sad how grasping the media is to anything.

    I am usually a reader, not a commentator, but for this, why is this on Defensetech? I want to see actually gripping articles of the defense world, I did for 8 years now. This has no place. If you don't like the NSA, save it for the Guardian, but please don't sully this site with your views. The title says it all.

  9. now i see he learned something after 5 years of his presidency,NOT apologizing to the world in expense of securing our nation …

  10. More lies from Obama and his stooges.

  11. If spying on your friends is ok, then could you please tell me why is it a crime to hack the government? one Rule for one rule for all. Whats good enough for our leaders should be the same for the people.

  12. Obama claiming that the mail of innocent American citizens isn't really seized because he hasn't yet gotten around to reading it is like a shoplifter running from Macy's with a coat, claiming it isn't really stolen until she wears it.

    No. Sorry. The Constitution FORBIDS such activity. Seizure is to be individual, upon cause, for a specific suspected crime, for specific items, only with a warrant.

    President Obama, like all federal officers swear to uphold the Constitution.
    Apparently his oath was meaningless.

  13. Anyone who thinks their internet and telcom secure is a fool. And the US is far, far from the only snooper.

  14. Destroying our American way of life? Perhaps you should take the time to educate yourself. According to the National Intelligence Estimates, the previous administration caused the worst string of national security disasters of any previous administration by a long shot. How one might ask?

    – GWB gave Al Qaida a massive victory in what was supposed to be the Global War on Terror, by playing directly into Bin Laden's hands, unjustifiable invading an arab/Muslim nation (Iraq), garnering Al Qaida millions of new supporters, volunteers, and donors of cash. And caused our nation to go broke doing it.
    – The previous administration also created policies that caused the transfer of 10's of thousands of hard-won dual-use technologies to communist China, along with 8+ million jobs, and the manufacturing techniques. This was in return for short-term profits for his party's donors, at the cost of the US strategic manufacturing base, and out national security.

    If you do your homework and take a serious look at what the previous administration did during that time period, you'll find they caused more damage to the US in 8 short years than in 60 years of Cold War.

    The actions of the previous administration sounded good on top: but the incompetent execution of the GWOT was a disaster for the US.

    At least, if the opinions of all 16 US intelligence agencies carries any weight.

  15. I think the President is absolutely correct not to apologise.

    Angela Merkel needs to kiss up to Susan Rice and Condoleezza Rice and stop trying to make out that she is the most powerful woman in the world.

    Such a claim makes no sense whatsoever UNLESS the Germans are planning on developing a German nuclear weapons program and that's why we need to keep tabs on their telephone conversations and emails etc.

  16. Colonel Mustard | January 20, 2014 at 12:45 am | Reply
  17. Like I wrote

    "Who won World Wars 1 & 2 anyway? I think it was us! "

    "Us" as in ALL the Allied nations and in those I include my own nations, the British and Scots. Respect to us all was implied and you missed my clues, Colonel Mustard.

    We all DID win the war. But the Germans didn't – they lost, twice.

    Have I given you a CLUE yet Colonel Mustard?

  18. Colonel Mustard | January 20, 2014 at 3:35 am | Reply

    My mistake Peter, the obviousness of your ‘clues’ eluded me. Though I do think bringing the matter of both world wars into the discussion is somewhat misplaced as I miss the relevance to the story at hand. Also for your future reference the Scottish were and still are very much part of Britain along with the Welsh & English, at least for the time being.

  19. I'll just advise you now! What you just articulated is A CLASS FOUR FELONY! If you don't know exactly what, you shall in the next couple of days.

    You will learn to keep a civil thought in your mind and not talk in public like you are talking to your peers or attending a town hall meeting put together by bachmann, santorum, limbargh, oreilly.

    You are going to learn what it means when we say for GOD and Country!

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