Continued from page 1

Espionage efforts, lawmakers say, are undertaken by most countries around the world — though they often are shrouded behind even greater secrecy than what has been revealed in the U.S.

Mr. Rogers, for example, turned the tables on allies such as France and Germany, saying they should focus on their own intelligence-gathering and strengthening oversight efforts so they are more fully aware of what their own governments are doing.

“We have to get court orders for certain activities for phone collection and other things. You have all those levels of oversight. So you have a big group of people sitting at a table deciding if what we should do is right or wrong. They don’t have that in some of our European capitals,” he said. “I think they need to have a better oversight structure in Europe. I think they would be enlightened to find out what their own intelligence services have been doing in the interests of their own national security.”

But on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are divided. Some fear that the spying accusations could lead to deep rifts between the U.S. and its key allies.

Speaking on CBS on Sunday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, said the U.S. must do some “repair work” with nations such as Germany and France.

“I think we have hard questions we need to ask of the NSA about what’s really going on in this program,” she said.

Other members of Congress have echoed her sentiments and have raised questions about whether the U.S. has crossed the line.

At the other end of the spectrum, Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, believes outrage over American snooping is overblown.

Like Mr. Rogers, Mr. King argued Sunday that American intelligence agencies — including the NSA — are part of a global force for good and said America should be proud of them, not apologetic.

“I think the president should stop apologizing and stop being defensive. The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives not just in the United States but in France and Germany and throughout Europe,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “We’re not doing this for the fun of it. … We’re not doing this to hurt Germany. But the fact is, there can be information that’s been transmitted that can be useful to us and ultimately useful to Germany.”