31 October 2013

Head of NSA: Allies provided phone records of millions of Europeans to the NSA

Head of the National Security Agency (NSA), General Keith B. Alexander stated, during the House Intelligence Committee meeting on NSA spying, that the phone records of European citizens were collected by allied spy services, rather than the NSA, and then subsequently turned over to the NSA. The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials stated that intelligence services in France and Spain collected phone records of their own citizens, which were then turned over to the NSA. Such information is collected by the US and NATO allies in the name of defending their countries and identifying national security threats.

The US has been recently criticised for its spying on European citizens and leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, James R. Clapper Jr., director of national intelligence, at the same House Intelligence Committee meeting, stated that it is a ‘fundamental given’ that other countries, including allies, spy on the US as well. While spying on foreign leaders, according to Clapper, is a ‘basic pillar of American intelligence operations,’ other US officials suggest it is time to review that policy. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared that the US should not be collecting the phone calls and emails of friendly leaders. Furthermore, President Obama is prepared to order the NSA to stop spying on its allied leaders.

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Source: The New York Times | N.S.A. Head Says European Data Was Collected by Allies
Source: Wall Street Journal | U.S. Says France, Spain Helped NSA Spying
Source: The Washington Post | NSA chief says NATO allies shared phone records with the U.S. spy agency

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