After enduring weeks of accusations of spying overreach, U.S. intelligence chiefs are pushing back.
In hearings on Capitol Hill, the chiefs denied reports of NSA surveillance of millions of calls in France and Spain. They say the information collected is not on European citizens.
However, they say tracking foreign leaders, even allies, is a "fundamental given".
The director of national intelligence says no one's hands are clean. He says other counties spy on the U.S.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers: Have the allies of the United States ever during the course of that time engaged in anything that you would qualify as an espionage act targeted at the United States of America?
NSA Dir. Gen. Keith Alexander: Yes they have Chairman.
Rogers: That would be consistent with most of our allies - well, let's just pick a place - the European Union.
Alexander: Yes it would chairman.
Rogers: So, and this is ongoing today? This didn't stop two years ago or last year or maybe last week?
Alexander: Not to my knowledge
Some on the Senate committee question the value of angering America's closest friends for minimal intelligence gain.