The headline reads: “President Obama Unaware of Spying”:
President Barack Obama didn’t know about the NSA spying on foreign leaders for years, and he put an end to it when the administration found out about the program, according to a new report.
The monitoring of 35 world leaders’ communications was brought to light during an internal review of NSA programs this summer, an administration official told The Wall Street Journal. Obama halted the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others immediately, and some remaining monitoring programs are being phased out, the official said.
I’ve lost count of the times Obama has used the “I didn’t know” defense, including its subset “I only read about it for the first time in the papers, just like you” (not being used here, but a real favorite).
Maybe it’s true that he didn’t know, maybe it’s not true. We certainly don’t know. But the pattern is one of either denial of knowledge or of actual ignorance. And the majority of Americans seem to have forgiven him enough to re-elect him; perhaps they identify.
Obama reminds me of this poem:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…
And he also conjures up one of my very favorite passages from the Mikado (I’ve cued it to start at the right spot; pay special attention to Pooh-Bah at 36:52):
We used to demand competency and responsibility from our presidents. Now we demand—what? Oratory and coolness, and—stuff?