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NSA chief claims reports about spying in France, Spain and Italy are false

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by brahmos_ii, Oct 30, 2013.

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  1. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the United States Congress that recent media reports detailing the NSA’s surveillance of foreign citizens are “completely false.†Anyway according to European media reports, the NSA tapped the phone calls of 28 EU countries representatives, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

    Gen. Alexander was speaking before lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday afternoon when he was asked if recent reports put together using leaked national security documents disclosed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden were accurate.

    Alexander responded that assertions by reporters in France, Spain and Italy “that the NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls are completely false.â€

    The NSA chief said reporters cite screen shots leaked to the media that show a “Web tool used for data management purposes,†and said “both they and the person who stole the classified data do not understand what they were looking at.â€

    The data collected by the NSA, added Alexander, was legally obtained and provided to the NSA by foreign partners.

    “To be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collected on European citizens,†said Alexander. “It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations.â€

    Alexander and his colleagues didn’t deny allegations that international leaders were targeted through surveillance operations, however, and some went as far as to call those programs key components of intelligence-gathering processes.

    James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told the House of Representative panel that spying on foreign leaders “is one of the first things I learned†when he entered his field 50 years ago. Clapper called this type of spying “kind of a basic tenant†of intelligence-gathering, and said there were “absolutely†instances in which America’s allies have committed espionage against the US.

    The intelligence community leaders continued to fight off allegations that Americans were targeted through the NSA’s programs as well, and Alexander went as far as to say employees within his agency have “taken an oath to defend the nation and protect our civil liberties and privacy, and they do that better than anyone I’ve ever seen.â€

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