Tech Leaders Press Obama on NSA, in Person

In meeting, they air gripes about the agency's data mining

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 17, 2013 6:43 PM CST

(Newser) – President Obama met with a who's who of tech industry leaders today to discuss the ObamaCare website. Or at least, that was the plan. Politico reports that the tech leaders—including Marissa Mayer, Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eric Schmidt—were way more interested in airing their concerns about the NSA's data mining. No real details have emerged, but the Washington Post says the leaders made clear they think the NSA practices are out of bounds, hurting their business reputations, and posing a threat to the economy. One lighter moment highlighted in coverage: Obama asked Netflix chief Reed Hastings if he had an advance copy of House of Cards. "I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient," he said. "This guy's getting a lot of stuff done."

Meanwhile, it's not exactly Clippy to the rescue, but a retiring Microsoft Office exec gets the fun job of overseeing the ObamaCare website starting tomorrow, reports Bloomberg. Kurt DelBene, 53, replaces Jeff Zients, who was brought in temporarily to right the ship after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov. "Kurt has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development," writes health chief Kathleen Sebelius in a blog post. DelBene is married to freshman Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat.

President Obama meets with technology executives in the Roosevelt Room of White House. From left are, Mark Pincus of Zynga, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Obama, and Randall Stephenson of AT&T.
President Obama meets with technology executives in the Roosevelt Room of White House. From left are, Mark Pincus of Zynga, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Obama, and Randall Stephenson of AT&T.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Kurt DelBene, a retiring Microsoft executive, in a file photo.
Kurt DelBene, a retiring Microsoft executive, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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