NSA Says It Stopped Spying on Angela Merkel “This Summer”

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Is this story actually true, or is it a desperate attempt by the NSA to pretend that they had stopped spying on foreign leaders before they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar? Beats me, but here it is:

The National Security Agency ended a program used to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of other world leaders after an internal Obama administration review started this summer revealed to the White House the existence of the operation, U.S. officials said.

….The White House cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders, a senior U.S. official said. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven’t been phased out completely yet, officials said.

….The senior U.S. official said that the current practice has been for these types of surveillance decisions to be made at the agency level. “These decisions are made at NSA,” the official said. “The president doesn’t sign off on this stuff.” That protocol now is under review, the official added.

Here’s my guess at a timeline: (1) Snowden documents are released starting in early June. (2) NSA starts damage assessment in mid June. (3) They decide that monitoring of foreign leaders is probably going to be outed, so they tell the White House, which cuts off the program. (4) The White House can now truthfully say that the monitoring was cut off “this summer.”

Anybody got a better guess?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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