Authorization for the National Security Agency’s monitoring of foreign leaders appears to have come from the top, according to a new report by the Los Angeles Times.
The NSA pushed back Monday evening against statements made by unnamed U.S. officials quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal report that said the Obama administration was unaware the agency was spying on foreign leaders until it unearthed the practice during an internal investigation.
According to current and former intelligence officials, President Barack Obama may not have known about the operations, but the National Security Council and senior officials certainly did.
“Professional staff members at the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies are angry, these officials say, believing the president has cast them adrift as he tries to distance himself from the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have strained ties with close allies,” the LA Times reports.
“If U.S. spying on key foreign leaders was news to the White House, current and former officials said, then White House officials have not been reading their briefing books,” reports the LA Times.
“This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community,” said an unnamed senior U.S. intelligence official.