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US admits spying constraints needed

Source BBC News@

Demands are growing in Europe for explanations over US monitoring activities

The White House has acknowledged the need for additional "constraints" on US intelligence gathering amid reports the nation had spied on its allies.

Spokesman Jay Carney said an ongoing White House intelligence policy review would account for "privacy concerns".

His remarks come amid reports the US eavesdropped on political leaders and collected data on phone calls in Germany, France, Spain and Brazil.

An EU delegate in Washington described the row as "a breakdown of trust".

Labour MEP Claude Moraes: "They're giving us answers, but not the answers we want"

On Monday Mr Carney, US President Barack Obama's spokesman, told reporters the administration "recognise[s] there needs to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence".

He said the US did not use its intelligence gathering capabilities for the purpose of promoting its economic interests, and said Mr Obama was committed to ensuring "that we are collecting information not just because we can, but because we should, because we need it for our security".

"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 said.

An across-the-board review of US intelligence resources, currently underway, is also expected to assist the administration in "properly accounting for both the security of our citizens and our allies and the privacy concerns shared by Americans and citizens around the world", Mr Carney added.

'Genuine concern'

White House press secretary Jay Carney spoke in the White House in Washington on 28 October 2013 White House press secretary Jay Carney has not commented on specifics of allegations the US eavesdropped on foreign allies

Mr Carney and Mr Obama have not commented on specific allegations the US eavesdropped on international allies, including tapping the phones of foreign officials.

Earlier on Monday, representatives from the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs spoke to members of the US Congress about the alleged US spying on European leaders and citizens.

"We wanted to transmit to them first that this mass surveillance of EU citizens is a genuine concern," British Labour MEP Claude Moraes, a member of the delegation, told the BBC after the meetings.

But Mr Moraes said he and his fellow delegates were unsatisfied with the "stock" responses from US officials on the issue.

"They're giving us answers, but not the answers we want," he said. "We're getting a bit tired of this, 'Well, spying has always existed.'"

Spain has also urged the US to give details of any eavesdropping, amid reports the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored 60 million Spanish telephone calls in a month.

The latest allegation, published by Spain's El Mundo newspaper, is that the NSA tracked tens of millions of phone calls, texts and emails of Spanish citizens, in December 2012 and January 2013. The monitoring allegedly peaked on 11 December.

Minister for European Affairs of Spain Inigo Mendez de Vigo called the allegations, if true, "inappropriate and unacceptable".

The allegations of US surveillance on international allies stemmed from documents leaked by fugitive ex-US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, now living in Russia.


It is not clear how the alleged surveillance in Spain was carried out, whether it was through monitoring fibre-optic cables, data obtained from telecommunication companies, or other means.

The NSA is reported to have collected the sender and recipient addresses of emails, along with their IP addresses, the message file size, and sometimes the top or subject line of the message.

For each telephone call, the numbers of the caller and recipient are believed to have been logged, as was its duration, time, date and location.

The contents of the telephone call itself, however, were not monitored, US intelligence officials say. The NSA has also suggested it does not usually store the geolocational information of mobile phone calls, which could be determined by noting which mobile signal towers were used.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also sending intelligence officials to Washington to demand answers to claims that her phones were tapped.

German media reported that the US had bugged Ms Merkel's phone for more than a decade - and that the surveillance only ended a few months ago.

The German government hoped that trust between the two countries could be restored, a spokesman told a news conference in Berlin.

"It would be disturbing if these suspicions turned out to be true. But Germany and the United States can solve this problem together," Steffen Seibert said.

"We will vigorously push ahead with the clarification of this case especially because we have a great interest in a good German-American relationships."

Meanwhile, a Japanese news agency reported the NSA asked the Japanese government in 2011 to help it monitor fibre-optic cables carrying personal data through Japan, to the Asia-Pacific region.

The reports, carried by Kyodo, say that this was intended to allow the US to spy on China, but that Japanese officials refused, citing legal restrictions and a shortage of personnel.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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