News / USA

Kerry: US Surveillance Went 'Too Far'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington on November 1, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington on November 1, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the nation's surveillance activities went "too far" in some cases, and has promised that will not happen again.

Kerry, in Washington, made the comments Thursday by videolink to a conference in London.

Recent media reports that the National Security Agency was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls - and those of other allies,  have ignited anger overseas and in Washington.   The reports were based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Senate Intelligence committee Thursday approved legislation to tighten controls on what intelligence agencies can do with communications records. It imposes a five-year limit on how long those records can be retained.

The controversy has also made its way to Asia.  Indonesia on Thursday summoned the Australian ambassador in Jakarta following reports indicating that Australia has allowed covert U.S. surveillance programs to operate in its embassies in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and East Timor.   

Australian diplomat Greg Moriarty spoke with reporters following the meeting.

"I've just had a meeting with secretary-general," he said.  "From my perspective it was a good meeting and now I have to go and report directly to my government. Thank you." 

Indonesia's foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, had this to say:

"Well, we are obviously deeply concerned and it's something that we cannot accept.  We have sought clarification, we have sought explanation, both from Australia side as well as the United States government on the reported facilities at their embassies in Jakarta," said Marty Natalegawa. 

Media reports said also said that the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta was used for spying on its president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and other Indonesian leaders.  They indicate the U.S. embassy houses wiretapping equipment that has been used to monitor other Indonesian leaders.  The documents describe the facilities as carefully concealed within embassy compounds.  

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry has summoned America's top diplomat in Jakarta to clarify allegations reported Thursday that the U.S. embassy in Jakarta may have been used to spy on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

On Wednesday, Internet search engines Google and Yahoo expressed dismay over reports the U.S. National Security Agency secretly broke into their communication networks.

In a statement, Google said it is "outraged" at the lengths to which the U.S. government seems to have gone to intercept data from Google's private networks, and said these reports underscore the need for urgent reform. Both Google and Yahoo said they have not authorized the alleged tapping of their communication links.

The new allegations of NSA activity follow a series of recent media revelations of U.S. surveillance activities targeting international leaders and institutions.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Michael from: Michigan, USA
November 02, 2013 12:29 AM
There are media reports on the Internet, which would suggest that the 'reforms' make it easier for the NSA to spy without warrants. While I have not personally read the text of the law, I remain skeptical of the ability of members of the Intelligence Committee to be forthright with the facts, given all they have previously said has been proven to be mythical.

by: Y.F.
November 01, 2013 9:00 PM
Dear Voice Of America/
You could check Alex Grigoryev from your Russian service -
there is very simple way from his page \Grigusa\ to the russian propagandist \anti-american\ sites.

Your Friend.

by: JBSmith from: Newport News, VA
November 01, 2013 1:39 PM
Read "A Note on Uberveillance" by M. D. Michael. Newport News Police and Virginia State Police had Dr. Lawrence Chang implant me w/o my knowledge and consent with a biochip. It enables torture. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. I had a heart attack. It enables voice to skull communication. See LRAD white papers or audio spotlight by Holosonics. See Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by Amin Gadit. See Bio Initiative Report 2012. See and search Brandon Raub.

Law enforcement tases citizens into "excited delirium" (see at to make them act in ways they normally would not. There are 3 reasons to have it implanted 1) mental health, 2) criminal record, and 3) infectious disease. If you don’t meet any of those requirements like me, they’ll falsify your records. All the mass shootings are the work of law enforcement. They want to take away your right to bear arms and make America a police state. They torture people into a state of what the national institute of justice calls "excited delirium." People aren’t suddenly going crazy, they're being tortured.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 1:26 PM
If it went too far, are you willing now to bring it too near? Methinks surveillance is not a bad thing if nefarious things are to be kept from peoples' minds and thoughts and communications tamed to be clean and acceptable, not civilized on the surface and bigoted in the covert.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs