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Obama admits NSA spying at the United Nations

Oct 30, 2013

The Reuters Headline reads,

Obama Orders NSA To Curb Spying On United Nations Headquarters


(Reuters) - President Barack Obama recently ordered the National Security Agency to curtail eavesdropping on the United Nations headquarters in New York as part of a review of U.S. electronic surveillance, according to a U.S. official familiar with the decision.

Obama's order is the latest known move by the White House to limit the NSA's vast intelligence collection, in the wake of protests by allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, over U.S. spying on foreign heads of state.

The full extent of U.S. eavesdropping on the United Nations is not publicly known, nor is it clear whether the United States has stopped all monitoring of diplomats assigned to the U.N. in New York or elsewhere around the world.

"The United States is not conducting electronic surveillance targeting the United Nations headquarters in New York," said a senior Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official did not address past surveillance of the world body. Such programs are highly classified, although some details have been leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The White House official chose his words carefully: "IS NOT CONDUCTING..." Keep in mind Bill Clinton's definition of the word "IS." In other words, at the time of the announcement, they were not spying on the UN telephone calls. Obviously, the reporter understood the meaning of "is," because he then added,

"The official did not address past surveillance of the world body."

The report does make it clear, however, that President Obama has now "curbed" its surveillance program at the United Nations building. That word means "to restrain," but not necessarily to stop this activity.

If the report is accurate, it means that Obama is admitting that surveillance has been done in the past.

No doubt the other nations are going to start looking for new location for the UN headquarters.

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Category: In The News
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones