Members of the U.S. spy community have reacted angrily to President Obama's suggestion that he knew nothing about America's surveillance of other countries' leaders, characterizing his denials as officially throwing intelligence officials under the bus.
"People are furious" and think the president is assigning them blame, said one senior intelligence agent who requested anonymity from the Los Angeles Times. "This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community."
Two security experts told the Times that the White House's denials are ludicrous.
As one explained, all decisions to place friendly foreign leaders under surveillance have to go through the State Department. After officials there vet the proposal for political repercussions, the president's own counter-terrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, views it along with other White House officials, the expert said.
For the White House to deny it was apprised of recent National Security Agency spy actions is not in line with existing policy, the official said. The president may not have been personally briefed, but his senior officials were, the source said.
"Certainly, the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous," the source told the Times.
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