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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid