Secretary of State John Kerry defended U.S. surveillance programs as he took part in a London conference by video Thursday, but acknowledged, "yes, in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately".
Kerry, who was in Washington, addressed the Open Government Partnership annual summit meeting.
During a discussion of the surveillance programs, Kerry talked about the spying accusations that have roiled world leaders.
"There is no question that the President and I and others in government have actually learned of some things that had been happening, in many ways, on an automatic pilot because the technology is there, the ability has been there, over the course of a long period of time, really going back to World War II and to the very difficult years of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, and then, of course, 9/11," he said.
Citing examples of terrorist attacks, Kerry said, "what if you were able to intercept that and stop it before it happens? 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."
He said the process will be reassessed to ensure people don't feel violated.
"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. And the President, our President, is determined to try to clarify and make clear for people and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have the sense of abuse. "
"I acknowledge to you, as has the President, that some of these actions have reached too far," he added. "And we are going to make sure that does not happen in the future".