During his stopover in Sweden today on the way to a G20 summit in Russia, President Obama held a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. (video; complete transcript)

Apart from pleasantries about the affinity of the US and Swedish peoples, the main focus of O’s statements (delivered after Reinfeldt’s) was of course Syria, how he and Reinfeldt allegedly agreed that there was a need to act, and how important it was for the international community to support this.

However, there is an issue that will not go away internationally, even if O may have succeeded in shunting it aside domestically by referring the Syria matter to Congress: NSA surveillance. The very first reporter’s question was

As you might know, the NSA surveillance affair has stirred up quite a few angry reactions, even here in Sweden. What do you want to say to those upset? And how do you think the affair affects the relationship between our countries?

To this our erstwhile leader began:

…this is a question that I’ve received in previous visits to Europe since the stories broke in The Guardian, and I suspect I’ll continue to get, as I travel through Europe and around the world, for quite some time. Like other countries, we have an intelligence operation that tries to improve our understanding of what’s happening around the world. And in light of 9/11, a lot of energy was focused on improving our intelligence when it came to combating terrorism.

And so on, eventually getting to this statement:

And I can give assurances to the publics in Europe and around the world that we’re not going around snooping at people’s emails or listening to their phone calls.

This assertion comes three days after Glenn Greenwald’s latest revelation from the Snowden cache, that the NSA has tapped into private communications of the very Presidents of Brazil and Mexico, congratulating itself on the achievement (as discussed here).

So far the best comment I’ve seen on this statement is Margo Schulter’s (comment #91 in the link just given): It compares favorably with Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”

But what do you think?