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NY Times 'not reassured' by White House on international spying

In this file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama speak at a press conference on June 19, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. German media reported on October 24, 2013 that German authorities had evidence that the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on Merkel's mobile phone. Merkel telephoned the same day with U.S. President Barack Obama to complain and the incident has caused an international outcry among politicians across Europe. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The lead editorial in Tuesday's New York Times is a sharp critique of the Obama administration's response to reports that it spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The White House response on Monday to the expanding disclosures of American spying on foreign leaders, their governments and millions of their citizens was a pathetic mix of unsatisfying assurances about reviews under way, platitudes about the need for security in an insecure age, and the odd defense that the president didn’t know that American spies had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone for 10 years," the editorial reads.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the initial reports last week and Monday, saying, "Today’s world is highly interconnected, and the flow of large amounts of data is unprecedented." He said, "If we’re going to keep our citizens and our allies safe, we have to continue to stay ahead of these changes, and that’s what our intelligence community has been doing extraordinarily well." The White House has said it "[is] not and will not" be monitoring cell phone calls made by Merkel.

"We are not reassured by the often-heard explanation that everyone spies on everyone else all the time," the Times editorial continued. "[T]here has long been an understanding that international spying was done in pursuit of a concrete threat to national security."


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