October 22, 2013
Recent articles published in the French newspaper Le Monde contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million “recordings of French citizens’ telephone data” is false.
While we are not going to discuss the details of our activities, we have repeatedly made it clear that the United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. The U.S. collects intelligence to protect the nation, its interests, and its allies from, among other things, threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The United States values our longstanding friendship and alliance with France and we will continue to cooperate on security and intelligence matters going forward.
James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence
So it’s “trust us… it’s not what leaked documents seem to prove?” Sorry, DNI Clapper, but your credibility has tanked. Either explain what the 70 million refers to or we’ll just continue to rely on reports about leaked documents.
Readers may want to take a look at these analyses, posted to Cryptome, by an anonymous commenter. I am not linking to them because I think they’re accurate, but rather to demonstrate how some might try to make sense of published numbers.