News / USA

Reports: Obama Considers Ending Spying on Allied Leaders

An American flag waves on top of the US embassy in Berlin, Oct. 28, 2013.
An American flag waves on top of the US embassy in Berlin, Oct. 28, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. officials say the Obama administration is weighing whether to order the National Security Agency to stop spying on leaders of American allies.  

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement Monday saying she was informed by the White House that "collection on our allies will not continue."  However, administration officials later stressed that a final decision on the matter has not been made.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for President Barack Obama's National Security Council, issued a statement hours later saying the administration has "already made some decisions through this process," but refused to discuss Feinstein's statement.

The Obama administration has come under fire in recent weeks, both at home and abroad, over allegations that it has monitored the personal communications of 35 world leaders, including the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Feinstein has called for a "total review'' of all U.S. intelligence programs in response to the allegations, adding that her committee was not "satisfactorily informed" by the NSA.

National Intelligence director James Clapper is expected to face questions about the growing scandal when he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents earlier this year purporting to show sweeping U.S. surveillance of Internet searches and telephone records of U.S. citizens and world leaders. The revelations have sparked outrage globally.

A leading U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, reported on Monday that Obama went nearly five years without knowing that his own spies were bugging the phones of Chancellor Merkel and the other world leaders, and that the program has now ended.

The newspaper, citing anonymous U.S. officials, said the president learned of the snooping after ordering an internal review a few months ago. The White House said it is not monitoring Merkel's mobile phones and will not do so in the future, but it has declined comment on whether the NSA spied on her devices in the past.

A large delegation of European Union lawmakers is in Washington for a series of meetings with U.S. lawmakers and intelligence officials about the allegations.

Germany says it will soon send its intelligence chiefs to Washington to demand answers about the spying. Merkel called Obama last week to voice her personal protest, saying that international friends cannot condone such snooping.

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger suggested severing U.S. access to an important law enforcement tool used to track terrorist money flows. The SWIFT agreement, signed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, allows the U.S. access to funds transferred through the private, Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which handles the movement of money between banks worldwide.

Germany is also working with Brazil on a draft U.N. General Assembly resolution to guarantee privacy in electronic communications. U.N. diplomats say it would call for extending the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to online activities but would not mention the United States.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rusty from: Canada
October 30, 2013 9:47 AM
Obama "considers" stopping the spy activities. So much for open and clear government. Treat your friends like garbage and see how many friends you have when you them.


by: Frumunda Vomit from: USA
October 29, 2013 10:30 AM
We had believed, along with a number of others, that the Snowden leaks showing how the NSA was spying on pretty much everyone would likely kill CISPA dead. After all, the key component to CISPA was basically a method for encouraging companies to have total immunity from sharing information with the NSA. And while CISPA supporters pretended this was to help protect those companies and others from online attacks, the Snowden leaks have reinforced the idea (that many of us had been pointing out from the beginning) that it was really about making it easier for the NSA to rope in companies to help them spy on people.

Also, if you don’t remember, while CISPA had passed the House, the Senate had shown little appetite for it. Last year, the Senate had approved a very different cybersecurity bill, and had expressed very little interest in taking up that fight again this year. Except now, in an unexpected move, Senate Intelligence Committee boss, and chief NSA defender because of reasons that are top secret, has now announced that she’s been writing a Senate counterpart to CISPA and is prepared to “move it forward.”

Yes, it seems that even though the NSA gleefully hid the evidence of widespread abuses from Feinstein’s oversight committee, she’s playing the co-dependent role yet again. Yes, there’s a chance that this new version of the bill will actually take into account privacy and civil liberties, but I doubt many people would take a bet on that being likely.

Right now what the public is concerned about are not “cyberattacks” from foreigners — they’re concerned about our own government undermining the security and privacy of Americans themselves. Giving those responsible for that destruction of privacy and trust more power to abuse the privacy of Americans is not what people are looking for. Quite the opposite.

In Response

by: Kevin from: Ottawa
October 29, 2013 5:09 PM
Two presidents lied for years about this.

Why would we believe them now?


by: hello hello from: new york
October 29, 2013 8:54 AM
Israel is not allied with united states, Israel is the secret enemy of the united states


by: hellobob
October 29, 2013 4:19 AM
so when is he going to stop spying on his own people?

In Response

by: Dr. Quentin Dirtyfart from: USA
October 29, 2013 10:05 AM
Never, will it stop, everyone needs to look up and EXPOSE PROJECT ECHELON.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid