An examination of the statements released by President Obama and the NSA leaves open the possibility that the president was briefed on the surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
From War in Context:
A report in the German newspaper Bild cites NSA sources claiming that in 2010, Gen. Keith Alexander briefed President Obama on the targeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
Given that as it was widely reported in the English-language press that Obama had been “briefed” on the surveillance, an unambiguous denial from the NSA would have simply said that Obama had not been briefed on this matter. He had not been briefed by Alexander or anyone else in the intelligence community.
A briefing involves nothing more than the exchange of information. Whether that exchange provokes discussion is another matter. Every U.S. president will be briefed on matters every single day during which he is a passive recipient of information.
- U.S. President Barack Obama aware of spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2010, German paper says (thestar.com)
- NSA Denies Reports That Obama Was Briefed On Angela Merkel Surveillance In 2010 (huffingtonpost.com)
- NSA reacts to report that Obama knew of spying on Merkel (huffingtonpost.com)