- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry said in most cases the U.S. surveillance of foreign sources has left the world a safer places, but in others — America’s spy agencies may have gone a little too far.

He said he’s working with the president to fine-tune U.S. surveillance policy and ensure that the National Security Agency doesn’t commit future offenses or violations, the BBC reported.

He said, in a video-link conference in London, the BBC reported: “We have actually prevented airplanes from going down, buildings from being blown up, and people from being assassinated because we’ve been able to learn ahead of time of the plans. I assure you, innocent people are not being abused in this process, but there’s an effort to try to gather information. And yes, in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately.”

His comments were significant in that Mr. Kerry is the most senior-ranking member of the White House to admit that the United States may have overstepped boundaries with several recently discovered surveillance operations — namely, one that saw the NSA tapping into German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private phone line for up to a decade. His comments also come as other nations are demanding explanations, and as China has sought clarification on a report that the United States has even wiretapped Australian embassies, one of which is located in Beijing.

Mr. Kerry also said that President Obama “is determined to try to clarify … and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have the sense of abuse,” the BBC reported. “We are going to make sure that does not happen in the future,” he said.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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