Washington: The whole notion that the US is spying over its allies is "disingenuous" and the "so-called disclosures" does not necessarily fit with what is actually happening, a top American lawmaker said on Sunday.
"This whole notion that we`re going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation state interests, I think, is disingenuous, candidly," Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told a news channel.
"Our intelligence services are designed to collect information that allowed the United States to protect itself in all cases. And again, think about where we are now. It`s called the World Wide Web. So we are now engaged in a level of communication around the world that we`ve never seen before, and that includes phone calls and other things," he said.
Rogers` comments come in the wake of reports last week claiming the US National Security Agency (NSA) has monitored the communications of about 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Mexico President Felipe Calderon. Another report also claimed the American government monitored phone calls of French citizens.
He also called the reports appearing in global media about documents former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked to journalists as not a correct interpretation of the surveillance programme.
"But what we have to understand is that -- again, and that French slide tells -- really should make everyone stop and pause for a second.
"The intelligence services of which was outlined in some of the so-called disclosures doesn`t necessarily fit with what is actually happening, right? So it`s not an exact, correct interpretation of what they`re seeing," Rogers said.
They`re seeing three or four pieces of a 1,000-piece puzzle and trying to come to a conclusion, he said.
The lawmakers said the complication of what the United States intelligence services are doing is so much more difficult than it was even 10 years ago.
"So a bad guy in Afghanistan can use networks in France or Germany or Great Britain or the United States and plan operations with somebody else who may be in Afghanistan, but you can still use all of those networks," Rogers said.
Referring to a debate in the 1930s about surveillance issues Rogers said, "We decided we were going to kind of turn off our ability to even listen to friends...Remember, sometimes our friends have relationships with our adversaries.
And so we said, well, we`re not going to do any of those kinds of things, that would not be appropriate," he said.
"Well, look what happened in the `30s: the rise of fascism, the rise of communism, the rise of imperialism, and we didn`t see any of it. And it resulted in the death of really tens of millions of people," he said.
"And our argument is, we need to be respectful, but we also need to be accurate," Rogers said.