Obama Opposes Scottish Independence: ‘Like We Need Another Country to Spy On’

BRUSSELS — President Obama came out against an independent Scotland Thursday, saying he wished the U.K. “remains a strong, robust, united, and effective partner,” adding that “a brand-new country to spy on is the last thing we need right now.”

Speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron at a G7 press conference, President Obama called the U.K. an “extraordinary partner to [the U.S.]” and said that “From the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well, so why make us go through the trouble of keeping tabs on a government in Edinburgh as well as London?”

“Breaking Scotland away from the U.K. would just mean more busywork for the N.S.A., and let me tell you, morale there is not great at the moment,” Obama said. “They’ve got their hands full enough without a newfangled industrial democracy to keep tabs on.”

The president also expressed concerns that, once independent, the U.S. risks seeing Scotland develop into “[o]ne of those human rights-obsessed headaches like Iceland or Sweden.”

“Because a first-world country that gives Edward Snowden safe passage and asylum is at the top of my wish list,” Obama added sarcastically.

The Scottish electorate will vote on independence on September 18.