Obama calls up Hollande over NSA surveillance row

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Washington, October 22:   Amid uproar in France over the revelation that the NSA carried out extensive electronic surveillance there, U.S. President Barack Obama called up his French counterpart Francois Hollande and told that Washington has begun reviewing the way it gathers intelligence.

“The President made clear that the U.S. has begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share, the White House said in readout of the call.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Hollande discussed recent disclosures in the press, “Some of which have distorted our activities and some of which raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed,” it said.

Following the revelation by a French newspaper about the U.S. National Security Agency’s intelligence gathering, the French Government had summoned the U.S. Ambassador and sought an explanation.

“We have an enormously important and valuable relationship between the U.S. and France, one of our closest allies and certainly our longest ally,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily news conference.

He, however, refrained to give any details of the alleged activities by the NSA of the United States.

“As we’ve said before in response to questions about other countries, we address issues like this related to alleged intelligence activities through diplomatic channels, and that would certainly be the case here,” he said.

“I’m not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity. And as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the U.S. gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” Mr. Carney said.

“As the President said in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, we’ve begun to review the way we gather intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share,” the White House spokesperson said.

The National Security Agency is a foreign intelligence agency. It is focused on discovering and developing information about valid foreign intelligence targets.

NSA’s activities are directed against these valid foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements from U.S. leaders for protecting the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Carney said.

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