Amid uproar in France over the revelation that the National Security Agency carried out extensive electronic surveillance there, United States President Barack Obama called up his French counterpart Francois Hollande and told that Washington has begun reviewing the way it gathers intelligence.
"The president made clear that the US has begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share, the White House said in readout of the call.
Obama and Hollande discussed recent disclosures in the press, "Some of which have distorted our activities and some of which raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed," it said.
Following the revelation by a French newspaper about the US National Security Agency's intelligence gathering, the French government summoned had the US ambassador and sought an explanation.
"We have an enormously important and valuable relationship between the US and France, one of our closest allies and certainly our longest ally," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily news conference.
He, however, refrained to give any details of the alleged activities by the NSA of the US.
"As we've said before in response to questions about other countries, we address issues like this related to alleged intelligence activities through diplomatic channels, and that would certainly be the case here," he said.
"I'm not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity. And as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the US gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations," Carney said.
"As the president said in his speech at the UN General Assembly, we've begun to review the way we gather intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share," the White House spokesperson said.
The NSA is a foreign intelligence agency. It is focused on discovering and developing information about valid foreign intelligence targets. Its activities are directed against these valid foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements from US leaders for protecting the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Carney said.