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October 29th, 2013
06:07 AM ET

NSA Spying: What Did Obama Know, And When Did He Find Out?

When it comes to leadership and personal responsibility, President Barack Obama has made his stance very clear: "The buck stops with me."

It's a phrase he's echoed countless times in the past. But now, he's dealing with an accountability double-whammy - fallout from the botched Obamacare website and global fury over the wiretapping of some allied leaders' conversations.

So what all did the President know, and when did he find out? Depends on who you ask.

Some U.S. officials have said that Obama didn't know about problems with the health care enrollment site before it launched and that he only recently learned about a National Security Agency operation that wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone for a decade.

"It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel's communications were being collected since 2002," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said. "That is a big problem."

But other officials said Obama - or at least his White House staff - did know about it.

Questions about what the President knew and when he knew it have important implications, analysts say. If Obama was aware, that could mean he isn't being clear with the American public now. And if he wasn't aware, that could mean his own staff kept him in the dark.

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