In a USA Today op-ed published online Thursday night, Obama's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco conceded that recent "disclosures have created significant challenges in our relationships." To address them, the President has ordered a "review (of) our surveillance capabilities, including with our foreign partners," she wrote.
"We want to ensure we are collecting information because we need it and not because we can," said Monaco.
Michael Desch, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, said this is "an important piece of evidence that our technological capabilities have far outstripped our thinking about how we should use those capabilities to best advance U.S. national security."
While the allegations of U.S. spying on world leaders will soon drop out of the headlines, Desch said, "the larger problem of the disconnect between our capabilities and our thinking about how to use them (will) remain for years to come."
He added the diplomatic fallout resulting from the controversy "should encourage U.S. leaders to ask, even if we have the technical capability to target these leaders, whether it is in our interest to do so."