NSA Went Too Far, US Secretary of State Says

Dennis Faas's picture

United States Secretary of State (and former presidential candidate) John Kerry says the National Security Agency went too far with its controversial surveillance programs.

Kerry indicated that he and U.S. President Barack Obama were largely unaware of the extent of the government's surveillance activity.

"The president and I have learned of some things that have been happening in many ways on an automatic pilot, because the technology is there and the ability is there," Kerry recently noted.

"In some cases, some of these actions have reached too far and we are going to try to make sure it doesn't happen in the future." (Source: theguardian.com)

President Obama Orders Formal Review

The National Security Agency (NSA) made headlines several months ago after computer specialist and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed details about the agency's PRISM surveillance program.

Kerry says Obama has ordered a formal review of the U.S. government's surveillance strategies.

The U.S. government will also consider a new bill, called the FISA Improvements Act, which is designed to limit the activities of the Foreign Intelligence Service Act and the U.S. Patriot Act.

"There is an effort to try to gather information, yes, in same cases inappropriately, and the president is now doing a thorough review, in order that nobody will have a sense of abuse," Kerry said. (Source: cnet.com)

Spying Saved Lives, Kerry Insists

But while the Secretary of State insisted that the U.S. government will be re-evaluating NSA activities, he also suggested that there has been an "enormous amount of exaggeration and misreporting" about the United States' surveillance of foreign leaders.

Kerry added that, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States "realized that we [were] dealing with a new world where people are willing to blow themselves up."

He also insisted that the NSA's work has been helpful in preventing terrorist attacks on the United States and other nations.

"We have prevented airplanes from going down and buildings from being blown up because we have learned ahead of time of such plans," he said.

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