"America’s top intelligence official acknowledged Tuesday that President Obama and other senior White House officials were well aware of U.S. surveillance activities targeting leaders of friendly foreign nations — a stark contradiction of the administration’s insinuation in recent days that the president was unaware of such spying.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper described the targeting of foreign leaders, including American allies, as a “fundamental” aspect of intelligence gathering, and said neither the CIA nor the National Security Agency can tap into a given leader’s private communications without White House oversight. His testimony, made during a series of tacit exchanges Tuesday with members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, came as all sides in Congress have begun seriously examining legislative proposals that would rein in the legal framework surrounding the NSA’s snooping programs. " Washington Times
It appears to me that James Clapper, the DNI, and Michael Haydon, former DCI and NSA director, have decided that the Obama White House has been trying to "stake them out" as sacrificial goats in the kerfluffle over NSA intercepts in Europe.
The Obama Administration has been trying to claim that such intercepts are a new development brought on by technological advances in the last decade. They are also trying to imply that NSA and the IC generally have been "off the reservation" and conducting intercept operations that BHO (the commander in chief of the IC) did not know of.
Yesterday, Clapper made it clear in public testimony before a House committee that such operations have been conducted for many decades. I suspect that Eisenhower was probably president when they began. The technology required is not terrribly complex and de-cryption software for things like GSM circuits has steadily advanced and is easily available to many different countries. Clapper also insisted that the very countries who are complaining of our actions have cooperated with the US in collecting the same kind of data against their own citizens and those of other countries.
Clapper was asked if foreign countries including those complaining now have conducted operations against the United States. His answer was "absolutely." My personal experience supports this.
Clapper also insisted that such operations are a normal feature of intelligence operations and that the White House surely knew what NSA was doing and had been doing over a long period of time.
Today on "Morning Joe," Michael Haydon managed to get past Mika B's attempts to defend Obama to support Clapper's statements that such operations are a necessary and frequent part of the information gathering process of mature states.
I support and salute both Clapper and Haydon for their honest answers and statements. They are doing their duty. It will be interesting to see if other IC chiefs like Brennan, Flynn and Alexander will also answer the call of duty. pl