US spy chiefs to face Congress as surveillance review announced

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 16:50

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Washington: In a bid to cool down the increasing global outrage over the NSA spying claims, the US Senate Intelligence committee announced that a major review of the surveillance operations would be conducted.

Earlier expressing her strong opposition to the NSA surveillance on US allies, the committee`s chief Senator Diane Feinstein had said that the US must not engage in "collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers".

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should spy,” she said. “The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort".

She also announced that the White House had assured her that collection on our allies will not continue.

However, this was later denied by the National Security Council.

The move comes as NSA chief and other top US intelligence agency officials are to testify before the House of Representatives later on Tuesday.

Earlier, the White House admitted that there were "constraints" needed to be exercised on the data gathering practices by the US intelligence.

The White House sought to pacify the US allies demanding answers on the wide-ranging surveillance and said that the intelligence policies will be reviewed in order to ensure that the privacy rights are preserved.

Speaking to the reporters, the White House spokesperson Jay Carney said, "We need to make sure that we`re collecting intelligence in a way that advances our security needs and that we don`t just do it because we can".

"We also need to ensure that our intelligence resources are most effectively supporting our foreign policy and national security objectives, that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activities," he added.
The comments by the White House followed after the indignation against the NSA spying gained heat as Spain became the latest ally to have registered its dissent after a report in a Spanish newspaper claimed that the NSA had tracked over 60 million phone calls.

However the reports say that, the NSA did not monitor the calls’ content and only collected the numbers and locations of the caller.

The report prompted Spain to summon the US ambassador to seek explanations.

Earlier, France, Germany, Mexico and Brazil have complained against the NSA as similar reports surfaced claiming that the US had spied on its allies.

A report in the Guardian had earlier claimed that according to Snowden documents, over 35 national leaders had been eavesdropped upon by the NSA.
The issue had also changed the tone of the latest EU summit held last week in Brussels, where Angela Merkel made it clear that “spying between friends was not acceptable”.



First Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 09:11

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