For John, BLUF: This is not good. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Down in Washington, The Hill Reports on "Obama unaware NSA spied on world leaders". The author is Mr Justin Sink. In part it reads:
The White House was unaware of National Security Agency surveillance targeting world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ordered the spy agency to cease some monitoring programs after learning of them, according to a report Sunday in The Wall Street Journal.This is not a good thing. Somewhere in there is a certain dysfunctionality in our Government.
According to the paper, the White House first learned of the operations during an internal administration review over the summer. After their revelation, the White House ordered the NSA to halt some monitoring programs, including the one tracking Merkel. Other surveillance efforts are still winding down.
The Journal report contradicts a story in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that suggests that the president was personally briefed on the operation to monitor Merkel’s phone three years ago.
But according to the Journal’s reporting, President Obama only authorized broad intelligence-gathering priorities. Senior administration officials told the newspaper that individual surveillance levels were made on the agency level.
UPDATE: Someone said it better than I did: "What other programs does the President not know about that he should know about? Does the machinery just operate itself? "
Regards — Cliff