Feinstein Calls For Review of NSA Spying on Allied Foreign Leaders

Senate Select Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Senate Select Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:48pm

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Monday she is “unequivocally” and “totally opposed” to the collection of intelligence on leaders of nations that are American allies.

The California Democrat added that she will conduct a new review of intelligence activities.

Feinstein’s statement demanding more transparency from the intelligence community comes in the wake of reports that the National Security Agency had been monitoring the communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other allies’ leaders.

The White House has denied that President Barack Obama had any knowledge of such surveillance, and Feinstein said that she has received assurances from the Obama administration that the collection of data from the leaders of U.S. friends will not continue.

“It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community,” Feinstein said. “Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed. Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased.”

Read the rest of Feinstein’s statement below:

 “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.

“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. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort.

“It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem.

“The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support. But as far as I’m concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing. To that end, the committee will initiate a major review into all intelligence collection programs.”