Rich Galen

The NSA said that Gen. Alexander never had that meeting with President Obama, but stopped short of saying no one had informed the U.S. President. is reporting this morning that the NSA monitored 60 million phone calls made by Spaniards … in one month.

The U.K. Guardian published more previously Way-Beyond-Top-Secret information stolen by Edward Snowden including this:

"The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department …"

Add to the general anger aimed at Mr. Obama by our allies - including, as we mentioned last week, Saudi Arabia - the huge boost in stature the President granted to Vladimir Putin by his bungling of the Syria issue, the Iranians now perhaps no more than weeks away from having a nuclear weapon, the growing rift between the U.S. and Pakistan over drone strikes and the continuing crisis of the coup in Egypt, it is fair to say the bloom is off the Obama rose among our foreign friends.

I understand that everyone spies on everyone else and everyone else knows they are being spied upon by everyone.

But even among spies one might imagine there being rules of engagement. And, as the technology of communications continues to advance, even the unwritten rules of engagement are being broken by the Obama Administration.

Henry L. Simpson was one of the 20th centuries most gifted public servants. According to some sources, when he was Secretary of State in 1929, he closed the cryptanalytic bureau of his Department with the statement:

“Gentlemen don't read each other's mail."

Simpson recanted that in later years, but it is now up to others to decide whether the information gathered through these wiretaps has been worth the loss of trust and prestige that the rest of the world has had in the President of the United States.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at