President Obama will fiercely defend the NSA spying program to global economic superpowers at next week's G8 gathering in Northern Ireland, the White House announced today.
The revelation comes as Obama is pressed to defend the secretive and extensive program to his US constituents in the face of widespread outrage.
National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes declared today that the president will impress upon global leaders the important role the program plays in fighting terrorism.
"We will want to hear questions and have an exchange about these programs and other counterterrorism efforts," Rhodes said.
The embattled president appears to be digging in his heels as he faces broad criticisms, including from some of his closest allies in the European Union.
The White House announcement follows sharply-worded criticisms from the European Union written to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, expressing, "serious concerns about recent media reports that the United States authorities are accessing and processing, on a large scale, the data of European citizens using major US online providers."
The spying controversy could prove to be a thorn in the side of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreement under negotiation between the US and the EU that would mark the largest trade agreement in history, in a bid to hedge against China.
The New York Times predicts the agreement, to be discussed at the G8 meetings, could snag on EU concerns about privacy violations in light of the NSA spying scandal:
New concerns about widespread American spying on Internet and telephone traffic will make existing disagreements about data privacy, an important issue in Europe, even more fractious.
Critics have blasted the potential agreement, which focuses largely on eroding non-tariff "barriers" to trade, as a race to the lowest environmental, safety, and health standards.
The G8 gathering of the world's most powerful economies has been slammed by critics as an undemocratic, closed-door meeting that grabs power for the global 1% at the expense of the world's poor.