The uproar over U.S. spying allegations in France and Spain was spurred by intelligence the countries gathered themselves and then shared with the National Security Agency for security purposes, American officials told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Local media reports from Spain and France previously reported that the U.S. had monitored millions of phone call records from the citizens of those countries. Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that the American National Security Agency monitored more than 60 million phone records in Spain, and French newspaper Le Monde reported that the NSA monitored over 70 million phone records in France.
U.S. officials rebutted those accounts, telling the WSJ that the leaked NSA documents, provided by Edward Snowden, were misinterpreted, and that the spying programs were part of a longstanding intelligence-sharing agreement between the U.S. and its allies.
The agreement appears to be separate from NSA programs that monitored communications from foreign heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the WSJ said.
NSA Director Keith Alexander told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that allegations that the U.S. spied on European citizens were “completely false.”