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Obama says foreign countries rely on NSA data, spy on US

  • Associated Press
  • January 17, 2014 - 11:10 AM

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says some of the foreign governments most loudly criticizing the National Security Agency's spying programs are relying on the data themselves.

Obama says a number of countries publicly criticizing U.S. data collection privately acknowledge that U.S. intelligence capabilities are critical to meeting its responsibilities as the world's only superpower. And he says they use the information the NSA collects to protect their own people.

In a speech Friday ordering changes to the programs, Obama also said some foreign countries "feign surprise" over disclosure of the programs have spied aggressively on the United States. He says that is why phones aren't allowed in the secure White House Situation Room.

Obama said, quote, "We cannot unilaterally disarm our intelligence agencies."

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