Sunday, October 27, 2013

Merkel cell phone tap - Obama: 'I know nothing!'; NSA Official: 'The President knows everything!'

President Obama claims he didn't know that the NSA was eavesdropping on the cell phone conversations, and text messages, of German chancellor Angela Merkel; an NSA official, however, refuted the President's assertion.

The economic Times reported that the NSA official is a “high-ranking” official.

This post does not delve into the question of whether eavesdropping on the cell phones of foreign leaders is judicious or not, but rather this post is about 1) hypocrisy and the 2) President's propensity to deny knowledge of the myriad of scandals that have plagued his administration, or any, and all, matters that might be politically damaging to him, if he were to have prior knowledge of these matters.

During the 2012 Presidential campaign, when Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, criticized President Obama for being too soft with Russia, the latter mocked Mr. Romney. "The Cold War's been over for 20 years," the President said. But of course, while the cold war may be officially over, Russia's current relationship with the U.S is anything but warm; and Russia's current foreign policy clearly evokes a cold war sentiment.

Nevertheless, the Politician-in-Chief buried his head in the sand and asserted, "The Cold War's been over for 20 years." Which brings us to the following related news item about eavesdropping on foreign leaders, and consequently, Obama's hypocrisy
A German newspaper said on Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know.

Germany received information this week that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged Merkel's mobile phone, prompting Berlin to summon the U.S. ambassador, a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.

The [German newspaper], citing a "U.S. intelligence worker involved in the NSA operation against Merkel", said NSA chief General Keith Alexander informed Obama in person about it in 2010.

"Obama didn't stop the operation back then but let it continue," the mass-market paper quoted the source as saying. The [newspaper] said Obama in fact wanted more material on Merkel, and ordered the NSA to compile a "comprehensive dossier" on her. "Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German," the paper said.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment and reiterated the standard policy line that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.

[The German Newspaper] said the NSA had increased its surveillance, including the contents of Merkel's text messages and phone calls, on Obama's initiative and had started tapping a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer, a sign the spying continued into the "recent past"...

[The newspaper] said some NSA officials were becoming annoyed with the White House for creating the impression that U.S. spies had gone beyond what they had been ordered to do...
Nevertheless, like Sergeant Schultz of Hogans Heroes, Obama apparently "knows nothing" about any or all matters that might be politically damaging to him, if he were to have prior knowledge of these matters. However, in all other matters, he is by far the most knowledgeable person on the planet.
The rift over U.S. surveillance activities first emerged this year with reports that Washington had bugged European Union offices and tapped half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.

Merkel's government said in August - just weeks before a German election - that the United States had given sufficient assurances it was complying with German law.
A similar assurance was given to the American people, in the summer, regarding the NSA's domestic spying program, when President Obama asserted that the NSA was complying with American law.

"I am comfortable that the program currently is not being abused," Obama said. "I am comfortable that if the American people examined exactly what was taking place..., that they would say, `You know what? These folks are following the law.'"

Obama added, "If you are outside of the intelligence community, if you are the ordinary person and you start seeing a bunch of headlines saying, U.S., Big Brother, looking down on you, collecting telephone records, et cetra, well, understandably people would be concerned. I would be too if I wasn't inside the government." Heh......

CBS reported in July:
Responding to reports that the United States has been spying on the European Union, President Obama... suggested that every nation engages in that kind of covert intelligence gathering.

"They're going to be trying to understand the world better and what's going on in world capitals around the world, from sources that aren't available through the New York Times or NBC News," Mr. Obama said. "I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be should I end up meeting with their leaders."

Mr. Obama stressed that European nations remain "some of the closest allies that we have in the world" and that he maintains close, constructive relationships with European leaders.

"I'm the end user of this kind of intelligence," he said. "And if I want to know what Chancellor Merkel is thinking, I will call Chancellor Merkel."
But of course, the President would be too embarrassed to ask Angela Merkel what she had for breakfast, hence, there was no other option but to tap her cell phone.......

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