WASHINGTON, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) has slammed media outlets for publishing classified documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, accusing them of “selling” the documents and “convoluting” the data they contain.
“The papers convolute these stories. … We got one today about 70 million phone calls that were intercepted in (France) over a one-month time period,” NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander said in an interview published on a US Department of Defense blog Thursday.
“The reporters see this data and quickly run to the wrong conclusion, and that’s wrong. I’m concerned that what they’re doing will do grave harm to our country and our allies,” he said as documents smuggled out of the United States by Snowden and leaked to the media ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between the United States and its allies.
France and Germany this week asked Washington for an explanation after separate media reports said the NSA had a system in place that allowed it to scoop up 70.3 million French phone records in a 30-day period, and that the agency may have monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
Another document among the thousands thought to have been smuggled out of the United States by Snowden shows that the NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported this week.
Alexander said “it’s wrong that newspaper reporters have all these documents – 50,000 or whatever they have – and are selling them and giving them out as if these, you know – it just doesn’t make sense.”
“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it,” he added.
Snowden is currently living at an undisclosed location in Russia after being granted temporary asylum in the country in July despite repeated requests from Washington that he be expelled and returned to the United States to face charges of espionage.