Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that some aspects of U.S. surveillance programs were a surprise to U.S. officials because they happened on autopilot.
Kerry conceded that some surveillance “reached too far, and we’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future.”
He echoed statements from other officials denying reports that U.S. intelligence agencies spy on European phone calls. There has been “an enormous amount of exaggeration and misreporting,” he said.
President Obama is “determined to clarify” misconceptions about the scope of U.S. surveillance, he said.
Ultimately, Kerry defended U.S. surveillance, saying that it has prevented terrorist attacks.
The surveillance programs are a response to changing threats, he said. “The U.S. and others came together — others, I emphasize to you — and realized that we’re dealing in a new world where people are willing to blow themselves up.”