TODAY   |  October 28, 2013

Robert Gibbs calls spying revelations ‘embarrassing’

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie the Obama administration should consider whether spying on world leaders is worth the intelligence they are getting, saying the latest revelations are an embarrassment.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> some perspective now there robert gibbs , former white house press secretary . he's now a political analyst. good morning, robert. as somebody who used to live and breathe these kinds of crises, what are we talking here? do you consider this to be a category 5 pr storm? how much damage has been done?

>> well, look, i think clearly damage has been done. i think we have to evaluate whether the costs of the method of gathering some intel against rately exceeds the benefit of that intel against particularly when we're listening into apparently some of our very closest allies.

>> it seems that the feeling from the white house so are far up until this point has been, look, we although, wink-wink, everybody spies on each other. but this seems to go above and beyond that when you're talking about potentially listening into the phone calls of a world lead leader like angela merkel .

>> it's embarrassing for both sides. and i think what it puts into danger are a few things. information sharing that we get from our closest allies obviously by it definition 9d ones likeliest to help will us the most, but if we're straining those relationships, we could be straining that information. with the brazilians canceling things line state visits , the rising powers in the world turning them off when we don't have deep relationships with them, certainly also could cause harm to overall national security efforts to protect america.

>> you were senior adviser to the president. you were in the room on national security decisions. what intelligence purpose would be served by listening to the communications of a world leader of an ally?

>> well, again, i think we have to evaluate whether or not the benefit at all that we get from something like this or might get from something like this is in any way greater than the cost. i don't think with some of our very closest allies, great britain, france, germany, it makes a tremendous amount of sense. obviously we have relationships around the world that are very, very dear to our national security . and we shouldn't threaten those by trying to get information that quite frankly is probably not all together very useful.

>> robert gibbs , former white house adviser, thank you very much.