Thursday, December 19, 2013

When an NSA Meeting Becomes an Obamacare PR Pitch

"During a White House meeting called to brief America's largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of

'That wasn't what we came for,' a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. 'We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.'

One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.

The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA.

'He basically hijacked the meeting,' the executive said. 'We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.'

Yet Obama, according to insiders, repeatedly peppered the discussion with reassuring words about how the Affordable Care Act's marquee website was well on its way to becoming functional.

The change was so noticeable that an AFP/Getty photographer assigned to cover the event noted in a photo caption only that Obama was there to 'meet with executives from leading tech companies to discuss progress with'

One executive of a company represented at the meeting told The Guardian that a change of focus 'is not going to happen. We are there to talk about the NSA.' " - Obama 'hijacks' tech executive meeting to make 'PR pitch' on Obamacare website fix instead of dealing with NSA surveillance,, 12/17/2013

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