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In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers that it would be absurd to think that President Obama did not know that the NSA had been wiretapping the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Clapper stated that often the president is not breifed of such details of every activity, but that in this case, these details would be known.

Clapper and the agency's director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, defending the NSA and its surveillance program, asserting that their organization is not a rogue agency and that they are not trolling for information avbout everyday American or America's allies. They go to add, if they do, the White House knows about it.

The Merkel scandal prompted their testimony and lawmakers are looking for answers about to the growing questions around how the NSA collects information.  Republicans and Democrats are calling for a review and some lawmakers introducing a bill that would curb the NSA's activities. Obama has suggested imposing limits on monoitoring leaders of friendly nations.

In addition, Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his committee was aware the Merkel wiretapping. "To make the case that somehow we are in the dark is mystifying to me," Rogers said. "Some members spend a lot more time on this committee than others based on their schedules, which are significant in this Congress. But it is disingenuous to imply that this committee did not have a full and complete understanding of activities of the intelligence community."

Meanwhile, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "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."


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