President Obama will meet Friday with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The two leaders are expected to discuss topics ranging from international terror to Ebola. Cameron is also expected to press the president on the sensitive subject of government snooping, reports senior White House correspondent Bill Plante.
The meeting comes less than a week after the White House took a beating from critics because Mr. Obama didn't show up in Paris to join other world leaders at a massive anti-terrorism rally on Sunday. But officials said Cameron's visit was planned long before the attacks in France.
The prime minister arrived in Washington Thursday for a working dinner with the president to exchange ideas about combating terrorism.
The prime minister also promised to ramp up the pressure on U.S. tech companies like Facebook and Snapchat to grant his government access to their encrypted communication when national security may be at stake.
Both of them have apps that promise no lasting digital footprint, which leaves the intelligence community in the dark.
This is a battle Cameron, whose party is facing a tough re-election, is waging it at home, as well.
"If I'm prime minister, I will make sure it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that makes sure we do not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other," Cameron said at a news conference.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it was in the best interest of everyone to find a middle ground.
"This is an evolving challenge, but one that we're committed to because the right to privacy and the need to protect our national security are so important," Earnest said.
It's a challenge FBI director James Comey recently highlighted in an interview with Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes."
"The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law, troubles me a lot," Comey said. "As a country, I don't know why we would want to put people beyond the law. That is, sell cars with trunks that couldn't ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order, or sell an apartment that could never be entered even by law enforcement."
The White House said these issues will also be discussed at an upcoming cybersecurity summit to be held in California next month.
Leaders from around the world will gather to tackle the complicated threat. But as the president's spokesman acknowledged Thursday, technology moves so fast that whatever comes out of that meeting could be obsolete before it has time to be effective.