Top U.S. intelligence chiefs call spying reports "false"
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 01:18
Oct. 29 - The director of the National Security Agency calls reports that the U.S. is spying on millions of European citizens ''false'' in front of the House Intelligence Committee. Nathan Frandino reports.
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The reports that the U.S. is spying on millions of European citizens are "completely false."
That's what N.S.A. Director General Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Alexander said the reporters in France, Spain and Italy breaking these stories simply do not understand the data collected by the N.S.A.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NSA DIRECTOR GENERAL KEITH ALEXANDER, SAYING:
"They cite as evidence screenshots of the results of a web tool used for data management purposes but both they and the person who stole the classified data did not understand what they were looking at."
Alexander appeared alongside Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who also defended the practices.
The hearing came just hours after European Parliament members met with Alexander to address the issue.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CLAUDE MORAES, BRITISH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, HEAD OF THE CIVIL LIBERTIES COMMITTEE DELEGATION SENT TO WASHINGTON, SAYING:
"This issue of friend on friend spying is not something that is something that we should automatically tolerate."
The most prominent target in Europe appears to have been German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German media reported last week that the U.S. had monitored her cell phone.
The White House did not deny the report and says it is undertaking a full review of intelligence gathering - with a special emphasis on heads of state.
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