Obama orders review of spying as world leaders condemn US

posted at 11:31 am on October 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Stung by an embarrassing series of revelations about NSA snooping on world leaders and coming under withering criticism from allies, Barack Obama has ordered a review of espionage policies in the US. The Obama administration promises to rethink what we capture on surveillance, and the targets of our snooping, in order to make sure the US gets what it needs rather than just whatever it can collect:

That may not cut it for Germany and France:

It’s not enough for the leaders of Germany and France. Both countries want a halt to eavesdropping on leaders, companies and law-abiding citizens after allegations the National Security Agency gathered tens of thousands of French phone records and hacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

The German leader said trust has been severely shaken and something had to change. The spying revelations come from leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden – reports that the U.S. had spied on 35 world leaders. Brazil’s president canceled a state dinner after learning she was a target. Spain’s prime minister says he’ll summon the U.S. ambassador.

But Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron pointed the finger back at Snowden, saying the leak of classified information would make it harder for his and other countries to keep citizens safe. He said, “What Snowden is doing, and to an extent what the newspapers are doing in helping him doing what he’s doing, is frankly signaling to people who mean to do us harm how to evade and avoid intelligence and surveillance.”

I’m tempted to make reference to Obama’s promise to raise our standing with our allies after the supposedly arrogant Bush administration, but in this case that kind of criticism would be unfair. This kind of surveillance didn’t start under Obama, as we have seen with respect to trawling domestic communications, and the inclusion of world leaders in our surveillance wouldn’t have gotten out except for Edward Snowden.  In that sense, I’m more sympathetic to Cameron.  Snowden’s central conceit was that he was rescuing America from a surveillance state, but more of his revelations have damaged legitimate American intelligence abilities abroad and recklessly attacked our diplomatic standing at a time when Western unity is needed against the real threats of Islamist terrorism.

As for France’s demands, let’s just keep this in mind:

Back in 2001, European leaders accused the United States government of operating a vast industrial espionage network that was eavesdropping on European businesses and giving trade secrets to American companies.

According to the latest WikiLeaks cable release, they should have been looking internally.

France is the country that conducts the most industrial espionage on other European countries, even ahead of China and Russia, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, reported in a translation by Agence France Presse of Norwegian daily Aftenposten’s reporting.

“French espionage is so widespread that the damages (it causes) the German economy are larger as a whole than those caused by China or Russia,” an undated note from the U.S. embassy in Berlin said.

Most of this outrage is designed for domestic consumption in France and Germany.  Obama’s review is designed to allow France, Germany, and others to save a little face until the next leak from Snowden.  But the key point to keep in mind is that all of these countries share in the information trawled by NSA and US intel, as we share in theirs.  If NSA gets kneecapped on its ability to do foreign SIGINT, they will all lose in the transaction.


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so its ok to spy on the peons but not the rulers, i get it now.

phatfawzi on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

But spying on Americans will continue…

Question: Would a POTUS who listens to Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls use the same power to win re election..?

d1carter on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Dictator will back down to anyone but republicans.

bgibbs1000 on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Remember when the world swooned over the hip, sauve, colored dude who was going to end America’s go-it-alone cowboy attitude and bring everyone together? As David Lee Roth would croon, where have all the good times gone.

Bishop on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

…the inclusion of world leaders in our surveillance wouldn’t have gotten out except for Edward Snowden.

In other words, the only problem here is that we got caught. Hacking the cell phone of the head of the German government wasn’t a problem so long as nobody knew about it.

And, if the Germans (or French, Brazilians, Spanish or Russians, perhaps) hacked Obama’s Blackberry, that would be cool, so long as they didn’t admit they were doing it.

Rubbish.

IndieDogg on October 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Barry Soetoro is very easy to understand:

If he speaks, it is an untruth.

If he promises, it has an expiration date.

If he projects, he is doing it himself.

If he acts, he is damaging America.

The question I have is where is our District 11?

turfmann on October 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

But spying on Americans will continue…

Question: Would a POTUS who listens to Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls use the same power to win re election..?

d1carter on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Is there any doubt, since they also corrupted the IRS in order to attack political parties and win elections?

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Wonder if King Barack has a drone with Snowden’s name on it?

GarandFan on October 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Spying on France… Check. Spying on Germany… Check. Review complete.

2Tru2Tru on October 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

lets these countries spend more money on defense and security. stop whining to us.

gerrym51 on October 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

I suppose it’ll be the same ‘experts’ that did the most recent review — e.g. — his current circle of cronies and ‘yes men’… right?

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Spying is incontrovertible evidence of the precept of a “level playing field”.

Its no different than marking cards at a poker table. If a government feels it can’t compete economically or diplomatically without spying, the problem isn’t those that are being spied upon.

Its an internal problem.

BobMbx on October 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Snowden didn’t build the Utah facility.

Angela grew up in East Germany, no? She knows Stasi.

Now we know Stasi. And its gone global.

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

BTW, a random thought… have all the usual trolls gotten jobs as 404-care reps (and getting more money than trolling us)?

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

so its ok to spy on the peons but not the rulers, i get it now.

phatfawzi on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

In a nutshell…

workingclass artist on October 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Spying on US citizens will be a key part of enforcing ObamaCare…and the more comprehensive plan of citizen control by Big Government.

albill on October 26, 2013 at 11:57 AM

“I’m going to order a review of an organization I’ve been in charge of for 6 years and assigned leadership positions for because I was unaware of the problems of these organizations even though I campaigned against those very things in my election in 2008.”

All Bush’ fault… of course… If only we didn’t have the Republicans in congress this wouldn’t have happened.

Skywise on October 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

I thought it was understood – that in Utopia, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

That’s how it is, when we serve and obey the State – right?

I don’t get these naysayers, who don’t trust the State.

s/

OhEssYouCowboys on October 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!

O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!

O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!

Murphy9 on October 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Tango Sierra on our sigint getting compromised. The NSA should have thought things through before engaging in wholesale data collection for no good reason. If they had keep the scope limited, I could support them. No more, time to reign in government domestic and foreign surveillance.

Mini-14 on October 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Prediction: Bush’s fault.

Midas on October 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

ShainS on October 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Post getting blocked? Link to utah…

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

BTW, a random thought… have all the usual trolls gotten jobs as 404-care reps (and getting more money than trolling us)?

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Even our resident psychopaths are finding it difficult to defend the abomination known as DeathCare, it’s made them hesitant to opine on anything here.

Bishop on October 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Post getting blocked? Link to utah…

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

HotAir — a bastion of free speech … as The Left would define it.

ShainS on October 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

As long as Peter King and Diane Feinstein are on the oversight committees there’s nothing to worry about.

Jackson on October 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Suck it Democrat Obama!

Venezuela government creates happiness agency

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Americans may insist on the right to pursue happiness, but Venezuela now has a formal government agency in charge of enforcing it.

President Nicolas Maduro says the new Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness will coordinate all the “mission” programs created by the late President Hugo Chavez to alleviate poverty.

Wags had a field day Friday, waxing sarcastic on Twitter about how happy they felt less than 24 hours after the announcement.

Oil-rich Venezuela is chronically short of basic goods and medical supplies. Annual inflation is running officially at near 50 percent and the U.S. dollar now fetches more than seven times the official rate on the black market.

In downtown Caracas, fruit vendor Victor Rey said he’s now waiting for Maduro to create a vice ministry of beer.

“That would make me, and all the drunks, happy,” he said.

But.

Housewife Liliana Alfonzo, 31, said that instead of a Supreme Happiness agency she’d prefer being able to get milk and toilet paper, which disappear off store shelves minutes after arriving at stores.

Murphy9 on October 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Recall that BHO was “outraged” that the IRS would act politically, right? And, he made sure that the IRS stopped such practices right away — NOT.

BHO has never made a truthful statement about any substantive issue. He lies even when it is to his advantage to tell the truth. He is, of course, lying to the Germans and others. Hopefully they are not quite as stupid as the U.S. press.

Henry Bowman on October 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Poor Obama. He only learns about these things that he did that he is not responsible for while eating his waffles and watching the news. Let him be clear. He will eat his waffle and launch an investigation to hold himself accountable for his failure to hold himself accountable for his waffle.

/Steaming pyle.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

“OBAMA ORDERS _____________…..”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
ROTFLMAO

Who cares what this poser orders?

Harbingeing on October 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I’m curious, has the US ever been”condemned” before?

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

“OBAMA ORDERS _____________…..”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
ROTFLMAO

Who cares what this poser orders?

Harbingeing on October 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

You don’t like waffles? Who don’t like waffles?

Racists. Racists hate waffles. And they especially hate syrup. Maple syrup is the worst type of racism in America today.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Just google utah data center. I guess I can’t post links for some reason.

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I’m curious, has the US ever been”condemned” before?

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

By our allies? No.

It’s a new dawn baby. Embrace it.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Stasi central.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM

The shocking thing is to find that the NSA still has time to do its old job of spying on other countries.

ajacksonian on October 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Don’t be like that, Mistress Angela, you yummy, warm, fresh-baked Prussian strudel.

Seth Halpern on October 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Wouldn’t let me post the official web page. Not even with strategic spacing and pig latin.

But you can google it.

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

But it’s not as bad as that shoulder rub from Booooooooshhhhh!

d1carter on October 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Wags had a field day Friday, waxing sarcastic on Twitter about how happy they felt less than 24 hours after the announcement.

Oil-rich Venezuela is chronically short of basic goods and medical supplies. Annual inflation is running officially at near 50 percent and the U.S. dollar now fetches more than seven times the official rate on the black market.

In downtown Caracas, fruit vendor Victor Rey said he’s now waiting for Maduro to create a vice ministry of beer.

“That would make me, and all the drunks, happy,” he said.

Murphy9 on October 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades…

workingclass artist on October 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013

There’s a place called “Mays Counter” here in Tucson.

Fried chicken and waffles. It’s pretty good!

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM

It’s a new dawn baby. Embrace it.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Didn’t think so. The Saudis have been our allies since the 30s and I guess the president didn’t care much about that, either. I don’t know how we’ll ever be able to get our credibility back but it’s going to take a lot of work by the next president. I pray that won’t be Hillary.

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I say we kick their spies out to make up for their stand.

The Nerve on October 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Enough already. They spy on us.

CWchangedhisNicagain on October 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Rubbish.

IndieDogg on October 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

.
Are you sure you don’t mean “nebbish?”

ExpressoBold on October 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Bishop on October 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

No doubt… but they’re gone from the other threads as well; except for a couple of newbies I’ve never seen before.

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Don’t be like that, Mistress Angela, you yummy, warm, fresh-baked Prussian strudel.

Seth Halpern on October 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Michelle Obama’s on the thread.

/Sorry Seth… you just left yourself open for that one…

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:49 PM

No doubt… but they’re gone from the other threads as well; except for a couple of newbies I’ve never seen before.

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

It’s weird how they have all gone silent. I think I’ll order some more ammo today in celebration/preparation.

VegasRick on October 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

scalleywag on October 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

You know what they say…. “God watches over Drunks and Fools”.

We’ll be fine. We just have to vote the drunks and fools out of office.

Easy peasy, right?

/IRS.

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Enough already. They spy on us. CWchangedhisNicagain on October 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Angela can hack the blackberry and the football? Where is Germany’s Utah?

She grew up in it, and knows the difference. It’s a warning from someone who knows.

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

VegasRick on October 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Probably a good idea… I’ve had my stockpile built since the days of Prezy Bubba.

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Snowden is a holier-than-thou narcissistic punk who is out to destroy U.S. foreign intelligence gathering capabilities in the name of “global privacy.” I spit on him.

rlwo2008 on October 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Snowden is a holier-than-thou narcissistic punk who is out to destroy U.S. foreign intelligence gathering capabilities in the name of “global privacy.” I spit on him.

rlwo2008 on October 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

It only works if you twirl around three times whilst saying “I spit on him” “I spit on him” “I spit on him”.

/tool

Key West Reader on October 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Snowden is a holier-than-thou narcissistic punk who is out to destroy U.S. foreign intelligence gathering capabilities in the name of “global privacy.” I spit on him.

rlwo2008 on October 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Hey , you know what?

If a side effect of keeping the government out of my business means the same for our allies, then….I consider that a win.

Just think what the majority of the English elite thought about people like Paul Revere a couple hundred years ago. I bet they wanted to spit on him, too.

BobMbx on October 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Both countries want a halt to eavesdropping on leaders, companies and law-abiding citizens after allegations the National Security Agency gathered tens of thousands of French phone records and hacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

Absolutely 100% justified. Only people who give reasonable CAUSE to be spied on should be spied on. Dragnet round up ALL the people in the world and we can sort them out later is not a way to do it.

But what did they use the spying for? In order to see which way they were going to vote in UN proceedings! SERIOUSLY?!? That kind of crap is really needed? They will tell you how they are going vote when they vote. Useless, worthless and counter productive.

astonerii on October 26, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I would assume the intelligence agencies of these same nations routinely spy on the US as well. It may not get as sophisticated, but I’d be surprised if they all didn’t have some level of covert US intel gathering of their own.

If not, maybe The One can go on another “revival” tour around Western Europe like he did when he was campaigning the first time around.

JetBoy on October 26, 2013 at 2:05 PM

It may not get as sophisticated,

You mean they don’t have a super-mega facility that runs through millions of gallons of water Daily just for cooling? That kinda not as invasive?

Dude,, they built the death-star of espianage. On anybody.

On everybody.

wolly4321 on October 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

OBAMA: Who ever is in charge of this needs to be held accountable!!!

*….What do mean ME??

BOOOOOSHHHH!!!!!

BigWyo on October 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

It’s almost like he doesn’t realize he’s the President of the United States.

You DID BUILD THAT you jackass.

Jesus H. Christ…..

BigWyo on October 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM

I say send Obama to the “World Court” to explain himself.

:)

William Eaton on October 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Quick Question: Who has done more harm to the United States?

Snowden or the Unicorn Prince?

William Eaton on October 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

BTW, a random thought… have all the usual trolls gotten jobs as 404-care reps (and getting more money than trolling us)?

CPT. Charles on October 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I haven’t seen them much lately…

dogsoldier on October 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Just stop the unnecessary spying, don’t just “review” it.

Amazingoly on October 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

As David Lee Roth would croon, where have all the good times gone.

Bishop on October 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

His covers of Ray’s songs are pretty good.

Christien on October 26, 2013 at 3:57 PM

If spying on other countries’ leaders is wrong, what about spying on your own citizens? The people in our current idiocracy deserve whatever they will get. We will remember.

Old Country Boy on October 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Obama orders review of spying as world leaders condemn US

…DO MORE!…DON’T GET CAUGHT!

KOOLAID2 on October 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I’m tempted to make reference to Obama’s promise to raise our standing with our allies after the supposedly arrogant Bush administration, but in this case that kind of criticism would be unfair. This kind of surveillance didn’t start under Obama

No, it just continued under Obama, making such criticism completely fair. The so-called lower standing amongst our allies didn’t start under Obama either, did it? Per your logic, it would be unfair to criticize Obama for not raising the standard like he promised because the lower standing didn’t begin with him.

xblade on October 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

The so-called lower standing amongst our allies didn’t start under Obama either, did it? Per your logic, it would be unfair to criticize Obama for not raising the standard like he promised because the lower standing didn’t begin with him.

xblade on October 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

It’s really not possible to accurately judge our standing amongst our allies under both Presidents, as there has basically only been one regular “poll” measuring same (PEW). And PEW did not keep comprehensive “polling” data for all of our allies over the past 13 years, just a few of them (France and Germany and England).

But the PEW results that do show all prior years prove that our standing among our allies was/is based more on perception than on actual reality. For example, our standing went down immediately after Bush “stole” the 2000 election, before he had even taken office, and our standing went up immediately after O’bama was elected in 2008, before he had even taken office (see the “Nobel Peace Prize” he accepted for doing absolutely nothing!)

Del Dolemonte on October 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Let me guess, he just learned about it on Drudge just like we did?

claudius on October 26, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Del Dolemonte on October 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

In any case, PEW is THE most politically corrupt of the nation’s pollsters. I trust them on nothing.

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Obama is loving all of this. The left has been wanting to take down the US intelligence organizations since Vietnam. They must be delirious that so many on the right are giving them cover to destroy it all.

Count to 10 on October 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Obama is loving all of this. The left has been wanting to take down the US intelligence organizations since Vietnam. They must be delirious that so many on the right are giving them cover to destroy it all.

Count to 10 on October 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Not the domestic operations of the NSA, that can be so useful for political purposes.

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Just as a thought. Would it be a sort of compliment if a gutsy President told various world leaders… “of course we try to find out what you’re thinking, your country is pretty important in the world and to our worldview”.

:)

Russ808 on October 27, 2013 at 12:15 AM