The head of the National Security Agency
defended his beleaguered organization, saying it acts
within the law to stop militant attacks and calling reports
that the NSA collected data on millions of phone calls in
The intelligence chiefs appeared against a
backdrop of angry accusations by European allies that the
United States spies on their leaders and citizens,
accusations prompted by highly classified documents that
Snowden leaked to media organizations.
Army General Keith Alexander, testifying with
other U.S. spy chiefs before the House of Representatives
Intelligence committee, sought to defuse a growing
controversy over reports of NSA snooping on citizens and
leaders of major U.S. allies.
The hearing took place as Congress is weighing
new legislative proposals that could limit some of the
NSA’s more expansive electronic intelligence collection
More than any previous disclosures from the
Snowden documents, the reports of spying on close U.S.
allies have forced the White House to promise reforms and
even acknowledge that America’s electronic surveillance
may have gone too far. Internet: www.reuters.com (adapted).
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European representatives have shown anger at reports that
the U.S. has conducted surveillance of allies’ telephone