President Obama Apologizes to French and German Leaders Over Surveillance Concerns

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Barack Obama with Angela Merkel in June 2011. (Pete Souza/Wikipedia Commons)

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel received intelligence from her government that her phone was under surveillance, President Obama had an uncomfortable phone call to make. He called Chancellor Merkel and reassured her that her phone was not being tapped.

That conversation came just a few days after he had to offer similar reassurances to French President François Hollande when the newspaper Le Monde reported that the communications of French citizens were under U.S. surveillance.

David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for our partner The New York Times, joins The Takeaway to discuss this latest diplomatic riff.

Guests:

David Sanger

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Editors:

Gianna Palmer

Comments [5]

RT from Santa Clara

My dear Charles, it's impossible to imagine that such intelligence was not being gathered during the Pinhead W. Peabrain administration. It is the least possible infraction against decency, probity or Natural Selection he could have committed.

SURELY, the damage he perpetrated on the nation merely having "graduated" from Andover, Yale and Harvard without learning the difference between "dissemble" and "disassemble" was an order of magnitude more consequential.

What a charade.

Chancellor Merkel is too intelligent to have been surprised by this. As for the Italians- who know what goes through their heads.

Oct. 24 2013 03:28 PM
Louis

Spying on allies is wrong but be assured our allies are spying on us. How naive to think the U.S. are the bad guys and no other nation does this. Edward Snowden should be executed for treason. His actions have no justification.

Oct. 24 2013 03:09 PM
Charles

"...diplomatic riff..."

Did you meant "diplomatic tiff"? Or "diplomatic rift"?

Whatever, I think I got the message; this is a minor diplomatic episode, a security-apparatus aberration (as far as it relates to President Obama) and business as usual (as far as it relates to the national security apparatus, which is tolerable to the Left only when there is a left-wing Executive, as we have now.)

JUST IMAGINE, how NPR and the NYT would be reacting to all of this, if we had a Republican president. There'd be discussions of impeachment on the front page of the Times and leading off All Things Considered.

Not that I think any such talk is warranted for the Current Occupant. No, I don't propose to give the Left any such ammunition. I don't think this story was told so badly at all, by The Takeaway. But I do know that if we had a Republican president it would all be different.

Oct. 24 2013 02:41 PM
John

Boy, i really hate to be that guy, and i realize it has no actual bearing on the story, but you say: " DEFCON 5 is nuclear war, right?"

Actually no, you have it backwards, as any kid of the 80's who saw the movie War Games can attest. DEFCON 1 is nuclear war. Wikipedia even has a handy-dandy color-coded chart for you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON

Oct. 24 2013 02:15 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Everybody has Secret Agents, and they have the specific job of finding stuff out from other governments.

I'm certain Germany and the rest of the world are familiar with "Spy Vs. Spy"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spy_vs._Spy

I'm sure Germany is still reeling over Werner Von Braun. He changed the course of World War II.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTKn1aSOyOs

Oct. 24 2013 01:51 PM

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