White House says U.S. intelligence gathering may require additional constraints
The White House said Monday that it will review its surveillance activities and consider toning down their scope, but emphasized that intelligence gathering played a crucial role in identifying and breaking up terrorist plots.
"These capabilities are part of the reason we've been able to foil numerous terrorists' plots and adapt to a post 9/11 security environment. At the same time, with new capabilities we recognize that there needs to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence."
The Obama administration is coming under intense fire over allegations the U.S. National Security Agency tapped into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone as well as the phone calls, texts and emails of hundreds of millions of people in France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere.
"We're acknowledging the tension this has caused. We understand this has caused concern and countries that represent some of our closest relationships internationally and we are working to allay those concerns."
The admission came as Spain became the latest country to summon the U.S. ambassador to discuss the alleged spying on its citizens.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported earlier this week that over 60 million phone calls made in Spain had been intercepted by the NSA between December 10th 2012 and January 8th this year.
An Italian daily also reported Monday that the NSA had spied on over 46 million of its citizens' phone calls and communications over a similar period.
And in a related move, the German government is mulling plans to summon former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is currently under asylum in Russia, as a witness if allegations of the NSA's spying on Angela Merkel goes to court.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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