France

Obama: “There’s no country where we have a no-spy agreement”

President Obama And President Hollande Hold Joint News Conference In The East Room
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande arrive for a joint press conference in the East Room at the White House on Feb. 11, 2014 in Washington. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

President Barack Obama said Tuesday there is no country where the United States has committed not to engage in espionage.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday there is no country where the United States has committed not to engage in espionage.

Speaking at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande, Obama was asked whether his choice of France for the first state visit of the second term indicated a new special relationship that would result in an extension of a so-called “no-spy” agreement with the European ally.

“There’s no country where we have a no-spy agreement,” Obama replied. The so-called “Five Eyes,” Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, have shared intelligence information since the end of World War II. Those sharing agreements don’t include a ban on spying in the other country.

But Obama highlighted changes he ordered agencies to make to curtail direct surveillance of foreign leaders after such programs were revealed by Edward Snowden.

Speaking after Obama, Hollande said he and Obama had put the controversy behind them, but said there must be an expectation of privacy for ordinary people around the world.

“Following the revelations that appeared due to Snowden, we clarified things, Mr. Obama and myself, we clarified things. And then this was in the past,” Hollande said “Mutual trust has been restored.”

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