Following yesterday’s allegation that the NSA had been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf was asked if the NSA had tapped President Obama’s phone.
Harf seemed to find the question rather amusing, but was unable to give the reporter a definitive yes or no answer on the matter.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
Q: And just one or two more. Does this development threaten the U.S.-German relationships?
MS. HARF: No, not at all. I think that we value Germany as a close ally and partner on a number of issues. When there are issues, where there are concerns, we talk about them, like friends do. But we have a long history, and that just isn't going to change. And we certainly hope that these kinds of allegations in the press won't change our relationships.
Q: And is it clear to you that President Obama himself was not surveilled?
MS. HARF: By — I'm sorry; I don't understand the question.
Q: Can it be clear that President Obama himself was not surveilled by the NSA?
MS. HARF: Well, I think it's pretty clear that the NSA is a foreign intelligence organization, as our intelligence community is. So I don't have any reason to think so. They're focused on overseas information.
Q: If he's speaking with Merkel —
MS. HARF: It's a good question, and I don't mean to laugh it. But it's a good question. I will take it and see if I can get anything for you.