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Obama: NSA to stop spying on leaders of allied nations

Published on Jan 18, 2014 1:20 AM
Founder of protest group Code Pink Medea Benjamin (L) protests against the National Security Agency and US President Obama before his arrival at Department of Justice in Washington. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED States President Barack Obama has directed the National Security Agency (NSA) not to listen in on the phone calls of the foreign heads of friendly countries.

Delivering a speech outlining a raft of reforms to the NSA's controversial intelligence collection practices, he said he does not need to rely on spying to find out what allied nations think.

"The leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know if I want to know what they think about an issue, I'll pick up the phone and call them," he said.

Senior administration officials said the change will mean the end of surveillance on dozens of world leaders, although they did not specify which ones. Officials also did not say if the exclusion will include the high-ranking officials working around the heads of state.

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