In an unexpected twist in the NSA scandal, spy chief Keith Alexander has blamed US diplomats for ordering surveillance on EU politicians. Meanwhile, State Secretary John Kerry has admitted espionage “reached too far,” alleging it was on “automatic pilot.”
Indicating a rift between the White House and the NSA, Director
of the spy organization, Keith Alexander, has accused “policy
makers” and “diplomats” for dictating the targets for
surveillance. In a heated exchange, former ambassador to Romania,
James Carew Rosapepe, challenged Alexander to justify spying on
US allies, reported the Guardian.
"We all joke that everyone is spying on everyone," he
said. "But that is not a national security justification,"
Alexander replied sharply to the question, alleging ambassadors
had a hand in ordering spy activities.
“That is a great question, in fact as an ambassador you have
part of the answer. Because we the intelligence agencies don't
come up with the requirements, the policymakers come up with the
requirements,” Alexander said.
He added sarcastically: "One of those groups would have been,
let me think, hold on, oh! - ambassadors."
As the NSA points the finger at the Obama Administration for
ordering the mass surveillance of European citizens, the White
House is seeking to distance itself from the scandal, intimating
the NSA was acting of its own volition.
Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the accusations, that the
NSA recorded millions of European citizens’ telephone calls, in a
video conference to London on Thursday. Kerry conceded that US
surveillance had “reached too far” and stated that the NSA
had been conducting its espionage on “automatic pilot.”
“In some cases, I acknowledge to you, as has the president,
that some of these actions have reached too far, and we are going
to make sure that does not happen in the future,” Kerry said,
stressing an inquiry is currently underway to reassess American
intelligence gathering programs.
Washington came under fire this week when a delegation from the
EU came to get answers over the NSA’s activities in Europe.
According to the revelations released by former CIA worker,
Edward Snowden, to the press, the US not only targeted regular
citizens, but also businessmen and high-profile politicians.
The White House did not give many answers to the delegation, they
instead sought to justify espionage in Europe as a measure to
protect against terrorism.
“It is much more important for this country that we defend
this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program
that would result in us being attacked,” Alexander told the
House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. He
went on to say that the US only collected data related to
warzones in the Middle East.