Though there’s been some effort to calm President Francois Hollande down enough to at least get him from making headlines with complaints, the Obama Administration has made it clear they are totally unrepentant about the revelation of blanket NSA surveillance of French citizens and politicians.
The White House statement boils down to “all nations spy,” insisting that President Obama had already addressed concerns at the UN General Assembly, and that the broad surveillance is based on “legitimate security concerns.”
Even the concession that the recording of 70.3 million French phone calls in a single month raised “legitimate questions” was quickly abandoned, with officials insisting that the reports in Le Monde had “distorted our activities,” even though they made no attempt to dispute any of the specifics of the report.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in Paris today, even went back to the old terrorism defense, insisting that the surveillance was vital “because there are lots of people out there seeking to do harm to other people.” It is noteworthy, however, that the surveillance leaks recently have centered almost entirely on NSA targeting of major foreign businesses and politicians from allied nations, not al-Qaeda.
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