Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NSA Tactics Anger France

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NSA Tactics Anger France

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - France joined a growing list of angry allies Monday who are demanding answers from the United States over aggressive surveillance tactics by the National Security Agency, this time, that it swept up - and in some cases recorded - 70.3 million French telephone calls and emails in one 30 day period.

Keeping tabs on allies is classic spy craft but the sweep and scope of the National Security Agency program have irritated Germany, Britain, Brazil, and most recently Mexico and France.

Calling the practice "totally unacceptable," an indignant French government demanded an explanation and summoned U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin for answers.

Visiting Paris on an unrelated and previously scheduled trip for talks on the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry was unapologetic, but told reporters that the U.S. would discuss the matters privately with officials from France and other concerned countries.

"Protecting the security of our citizens in today's world is a very complicated, very challenging task and it is an everyday 24/7/ 365 task unfortunately because there are lots of people out there seeking to do harm to other people," he said a news conference with Qatar's foreign minister.

"We will have ongoing bilateral consultations, including with our French partners, to address this question of any reports by the U.S. government gathering information from some of the agencies and those consultations are going to continue," Kerry said.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. already is reviewing its intelligence gathering to strike a "balance between the legitimate security concerns that our citizens have and the privacy concerns that we and our allies have as well about some of these alleged intelligence activities."

"We certainly hope that it doesn't" damage the United States' close working relationship with France, she added. …

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