The Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA has continued to spy on world leaders and foreign officials, two years after President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would not eavesdrop on the heads of state of close friends and allies, “unless there is a compelling national security purpose.”
That fine print apparently allowed the NSA to continue keeping tabs on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, particularly as the U.S. pursued a nuclear deal with Iran. The eavesdropping apparently also scooped up private conversations between Israeli officials and U.S. lawmakers, which probably won’t sit too well with members of Congress.
All in all, the NSA comes across as something of an unstoppable force. According to the Journal, “The NSA was so proficient at monitoring heads of state that it was common for the agency to deliver a visiting leader’s talking points to the president in advance.”
Obama’s national security team was aware of these activities, the Journal reports, having been presented with a questionnaire with a box directing intelligence agencies to focus on electronic spying of world leaders.
“Who’s going to look at that box and say, ‘No, I don’t want to know what world leaders are saying,’” a former Obama administration official told the Journal.
Read the whole report here.