White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

NSA and other U.S. intelligence agency staff members are said to be angry at President Obama for denying knowledge of the spying. – L.A. Times

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers,” she said in a statement.

Feinstein said the Intelligence Committee had not been told of “certain surveillance activities” for more than a decade, and she said she would initiate a major review of the NSA operation. She added that the White House had informed her that “collection on our allies will not continue,” although other officials said most U.S. surveillance overseas would not be affected.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking minority member of the Armed Services Committee, said Congress should consider creating a special select committee to examine U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders.

“Obviously, we’re going to want to know exactly what the president knew and when he knew it,” McCain told reporters in Chicago. “We have always eavesdropped on people around the world. But the advance of technology has given us enormous capabilities, and I think you might make an argument that some of this capability has been very offensive both to us and to our allies.”

Politicians on both sides are all riled up about us spying on other countries but I don’t recall them giving a damn when it comes to the NSA knowing the time, length and quality of the nose-picking sessions of every single American.  On a related note, let’s push Feinstein and McCain out on an ice floe, Eskimo style.