News » National

Live Video: Senior U.S. Intelligence Officials Testify Before Congress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she was 'totally opposed' to data collection of US allies.


Live streaming video by Ustream

Seems like only yesterday that US Sen. Dianne Feinstein was condemning former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden as a traitor for leaking top secret documents to media organizations.

Now she is condemning the NSA for its spying programs on US allies and calling for oversight to be strengthened.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's chairwoman said she was "totally opposed" to data collection of allies, after allegations surfaced last week that the NSA monitored the phones of 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers," Feinstein said in a statement.

Her words did not seem to extend to spying on the citizens of allied countries.

"Unlike NSA's collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed," she said.

"With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of US allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed."

Feinstein has called for a major review of US intelligence collection. Senior US intelligence agency officials are set to testify before the House of Representatives Tuesday, starting at 11:30 a.m. (Mountain Time).

Some reports, especially in German media, suggested that President Barack Obama was aware of the spying on world leaders, while NSA officials contradicted that claim.

The New York Times reported that Obama was set to order the NSA to stop monitoring the leaders of US allies, citing administration and congressional officials. While the White House said no final decision had been made as of Monday, any move to restrict the NSA's monitoring would represent a major shift.