WASHINGTON — The head of the N.S.A. today defended his agency calling the newly-revealed tapping of foreign leaders’ phones a “basic tenet” of spying.
But some lawmakers are demand basic changes in N.S.A. programs.
N.S.A Director Keith Alexander told Congress, his spy agency follows the law at home and overseas.
“Nothing that has been released has shown that we’re trying to do something illegal or unprofessional,” said Alexander.
But Congress could tighten the law
“There will be changes,” said democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
A bipartisan bill would end N.S.A collecting U.S. phone records
“People who are concerned about this and that’s a lot of patriots that feel that this ought to be changed,” Schakowsky said.
Many in Congress are shocked that N.S.A. listened to the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other friendly foreign leaders.
President Obama is considering banning such practices.
“Examining whether we have the appropriate posture when it comes to heads of state,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney.
Foreign leaders have been monitored for decades said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but Congress was not told.
“We think we by and large complied with spirit and intent of the law not to say we couldn’t do more,” said Clapper.
Monday’s story that N.S.A spied on 60 million phones in Spain is false, says N.S.A, and supportive lawmaker jumped in.
“The only scandalous things are the attack against you,” republican Congressman Peter King said.
“This is a time for leadership in a very dangerous world not a time for apologies,” said republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan.
And, says the N.S.A, this is no time to end the controversial monitoring of emails and text for links to terrorism.