NSA: We Didn't Spy on Europeans; Europe Did
Alexander refutes recent reports about US snooping overseas
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2013 5:44 PM CDT
From left, Deputy NSA chief Chris Inglis, NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Residents of Spain, France and elsewhere in Europe are outraged over reports that the NSA spied on millions of phone calls there. Turns out, it wasn't the NSA that collected all that phone information—it was the Europeans' own governments, reports the Los Angeles Times. The recent news reports, based on Edward Snowden revelations, suggested that the NSA was collecting "metadata" in Europe without informing US allies. But now US officials say that the spy agencies in those countries did the snooping and then shared the data with the NSA, reports the Washington Post.

The earlier reports are "completely false," NSA chief Keith Alexander said during Capitol Hill testimony today. “This is not information that we collected on European citizens,” he told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Alexander said Snowden and his collaborating reporters "did not understand what they were looking at." Meanwhile, national intelligence chief James Clapper downplayed concerns over the US spying on Angela Merkel and other foreign leaders in part because other countries do the same, reports AP. "It is one of the first things I learned in intelligence school in 1963,” Clapper said, as quoted by the New York Times. “It’s a fundamental given.”

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Showing 3 of 39 comments
Oct 30, 2013 5:55 PM CDT
if we were still in the middle of the cold war, do you really think this would even make the newspapers? It is all so dumb. Of course we have spied, and so has every other country that can afford to do it. (or has the tech to do it)
Oct 30, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
I spy, you spy, he spies, she spies. We spy, you spy, they spy, Do daahhh And to think that I had a part in the game ! Hahahahaha
Oct 30, 2013 8:42 AM CDT
Hummmmmmm, I remember reading something about this years ago in MAD MAGAZINE.