According to the Los Angeles Times, members of the NSA and other intelligence agencies are angry that the White House is placing the blame on them for spying on our allies. Former and current intelligence officials say that the White House and the State Department both signed off on the surveillance of foreign leaders, including our allies. They are angry that Obama is pretending not to know of the spying, he himself signed off on and trying to saddle them with the blame.
The intelligence agencies see Obama trying to distance himself from this scandal, by placing the blame on a “rogue’ agency. Many staffers are angry by this portrayal. (Betrayal?) Edward Snowden’s revelations are causing a backlash all across the globe from our enemies and allies alike.
Even long time NSA apologist and booster, Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is calling for an investigation. There is speculation that the Obama administration understands there will be an investigation and they want to make sure they control it, through Feinstein.
France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Sweden, have all complained about being spied on and Spain is about to add their voice to the choir. This ushers in a new expanded investigation into the actions of the NSA and other intelligence gathering agencies. Until now, congressional investigations concentrated on the surveillance of private Americans.
Feinstein has put on her most indignant face and is leading the rhetorical charge:
“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.”
Spain is angry after they found out that over 60 million phone calls were intercepted there within a thirty day period.
Two former senior intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Times that whenever the head of a country face surveillance, the ambassador of that country and the National Security Council staffer assigned to cover that country, receive regular reports. And if the White House is truly in the dark about the surveillance, then they are not reading the reports.
According to one of those officials, Obama, himself may not be personally given the report, “But certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.”
Any decision to spy on friendly foreign leaders is made with input from the State Department, which considers the political risk, the official said. Any useful intelligence is then given to the president’s counter-terrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, among other White House officials.
The question becomes, “What has the president forgotten about spying on our allies, and when did he forget it?”