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Rediff.com  » News » What's the big deal about snooping? Everyone does it: Obama

What's the big deal about snooping? Everyone does it: Obama

July 02, 2013 17:01 IST

A defiant United States President Barack Obama has dismissed mounting criticism over whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations of US surveillance on many nations including India, saying all countries routinely spy on others.

According to Snowden's leaks, the Indian Embassy in the US is among the list of 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies like the US National Security Agency.

Responding to angry protests from US' European allies, Obama said while on tour in Africa that the Europeans "are some of the closest allies that we have in the world."

But he added, "I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be should I end up meeting with their leaders. That's how intelligence services operate."

Obama said he has asked aides to "evaluate everything that's being claimed" and promised to share the results with allies.

"We should stipulate that every intelligence service not just ours, but every European intelligence service, every Asian intelligence service, wherever there's an intelligence service here's one thing that they're going to be doing: They're going to be trying to understand the world better, and what's going on in world capitals around the world," he said.

"If that weren't the case, then there'd be no use for an intelligence service," Obama said in Tanzania on Monday.

The Guardian daily in London reported on Monday that the Indian Embassy in the US is among the 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies, as per the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden.

The US has used a wide range of spying methods including bugging, the report said quoting the leaked document.

The report said, "Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. 

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