Though the German press reported that Obama gave permission to the NSA in 2010 to continue spying on Angela Merkel, Obama is denying the story. US officials are claiming that he didn’t know anything about the NSA’s spying on heads of state until recently.
In the midst of the controversy over U.S. surveillance this summer, top intelligence officials held a briefing for President Obama at the White House – one that would provide him with a broad inventory of programs being carried out by the National Security Agency.
Some of those programs, including the collection of e-mails and other communications from overseas, had already been disclosed because of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But Obama was also informed of at least one program whose scope surprised him: “head of state collection.”
That program, whose targets included the communications of U.S. allies such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, began in 2002, according to administration officials. The president never knew that the program targeted American allies, administration officials said…
Okay, let’s add some information to that timeline. You may remember that back in 2008 and then in 2012 there were nationwide controversies. We have such a controversy in our nation every four years. They are called “Presidential elections.”
Because I’m so old I remember that in 2008, Obama was the Democrat candidate running against the Republican John McCain. Obama claimed to be different from McCain and from the incumbent president, George W. Bush. People voted for or against Obama on the assumption that he was a candidate who could become the elected leader of the US Federal Government. Then in 2012 we went through the motions again in choosing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Elections are supposed to matter. The President is supposed to have some say in how the government is run—especially on foreign policy. The President is supposed to represent the American people to the world. Yet, we are told, the President was never informed about what his National Security Agency was doing all during his first term and into his second.
So is the NSA the real President of the United States? They don’t seem to have to go to any higher authority to spy on the heads of allied governments. They seem to be an autonomous authority making decisions about how to treat our allies.
In fact, this makes all the rhetoric about how Edward Snowden is guilty of exposing government secrets seem all the more bizarre. If this story is true, it means that Edward Snowden is responsible for getting the President of the United States informed that the NSA was spying on allied world leaders. Without Snowden’s heroic efforts, our President would still be ignorant of the secret Federal Government programs.
So again: Who is really President? Who is in charge of our government?
Will we ever be asked to vote for them?