In an interview with The New Yorker, Barack Obama has hit back at European reaction to the Snowden revelations. He tells the magazine that “there are European governments that we know spy on us” and compares many of the European figures complaining about the allegations to the Vichy police officer in the film Casablanca. It’ll be fascinating to see wow those in the European Parliament who want to use this scandal to derail the talks on an EU-US free trade deal react to Obama essentially calling them out on this.
Obama does, however, concede that the allegation that the US spied on Angela Merkel’s mobile phone is serious. He concedes that if it happened it was “a breach of trust and I can’t argue with her being aggravated about that.”
One other striking thing about the interview is the reminder of how much US presidents can make from their memoirs. The New Yorker suggest that Obama himself will receive between $17 and $20 million for his and Michelle Obama around $12 million for hers.