By CNN Staff
The House Intelligence Committee is set to question U.S. spy chiefs about accusations that the National Security Agency has tapped not only the phone calls of millions of Americans, but those of top U.S. allies.
Among those on the hot seat will be Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Germany's interior minister said Monday that his country's confidence in the United States is shaken, amid claims the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
"If the Americans intercepted cell phones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that he wants "complete information on all accusations."
"The confidence in our ally, U.S.A., is shaken," Friedrich said, according to Bild am Sonntag.FULL STORY
By Evan Perez
The Obama administration declassified a new batch of National Security Agency documents on Monday, many of which deal with the effort to inform members of Congress about NSA programs that collect call data on nearly every U.S. telephone user.
The documents released by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper date mostly to 2009, when the administration was pushing lawmakers to reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act that were set to expire.
One document from 2011, notifies the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, of the NSA's testing in 2010-11 of a program to collect cell phone tower data that could track mobile phone users. The NSA earlier this month acknowledged it tested such collection but discontinued it.
By Al Goodman and David Simpson
The release of further allegations of National Security Agency surveillance efforts caused the Spanish government to summon the U.S. ambassador Monday, and The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House ordered a halt to some eavesdropping on foreign leaders after learning of it this summer.
Quoting unidentified U.S. officials, the newspaper's website said the wiretapping of about 35 foreign leaders was disclosed to the White House as part of a review of surveillance programs ordered by President Barack Obama after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information on the NSA's phone monitoring systems.
The White House ordered a halt to the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unspecified other leaders, the newspaper reported. The Journal report did not specify who gave the shutdown order or the date it was issued.FULL STORY
By CNN's Kevin Liptak
The NSA is denying a report in a German newspaper that the agency’s chief – Gen. Keith Alexander-had informed President Obama in 2010 about the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines told CNN: "Gen. Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel. News reports claiming otherwise are not true."
By CNN's Jaosn Seher
The House Intelligence chief emphatically told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that the NSA's foreign intelligence gathering operations keep allies "safe."
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the vision being presented to the American public of a nation spying on its closest allies does not jibe with reality. According to Rogers, the U.S. counterterror operation abroad "keeps the French safe."
European leaders warned Friday that reports of widespread spying on world leaders by the U.S. National Security Agency have raised "deep concerns" among Europeans and could affect the cooperation needed for effective intelligence gathering.
"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field," the leaders said in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that Madrid has summoned U.S. Ambassador James Costos over the matter. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid declined to comment, saying that Rajoy's statement stands for itself.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will begin calling more of its furloughed employees back into the office this week despite the ongoing partial government shutdown.
70% of the intelligence community has been furloughed as a result of the shutdown, leaving the leaders of all intelligence agencies scrambling to carry out their core missions.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Wednesday telling employees he had "authorized the recall of some employees who perform functions that directly support efforts to protect against imminent threats to life or property, and help provide the President with the intelligence he needs to carry out his core constitutional functions related to national security."
Typically, the president receives a daily intelligence briefing in the morning hours.
The CIA made a similar announcement earlier in the week, with CIA Director John Brennan saying in a letter to employees that "keeping our staffing at the dramatically reduced levels of the past week would pose a threat to the safety of human life and the protection of property."
Like Clapper, Brennan also cited the need to provide intelligence information to the president as a reason why more employees would be returning to work.
One U.S. intelligence official told CNN that managers at all agencies are currently "in the process of determining exactly who will be recalled under revised staffing plans" and said the process of determining who can be brought back into work "will continue over the coming days."
Clapper testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, warning Congress the damage from the shutdown would be "insidious" on the intelligence community.
"Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases. This is a dreamland for foreign intelligence services to recruit," he said.
Since the shutdown first took effect, various U.S. intelligence services have retained the right to call back essential staff in cases where it affected national security. This allowed for management to call in specific experts if, for example, there were reports of terrorist chatter that were particularly concerning.
But as the shutdown drags on with no clear ending in sight, leaders in multiple intelligence agencies are being forced to revise their plans and are recalling a wider circle of employees.
One intelligence official summed up the current situation, saying, "In the beginning of the shutdown, only those CIA employees working imminent threats were on the job. But it's been determined that the CIA not performing its core missions for an extended period of time itself presents the risk that real threats to our national security will go undetected."
By Jamie Crawford
Did the United States intelligence community dismiss a warning of an al Qaeda plot to hijack a commercial airliner a year before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?
That's the assertion made by Judicial Watch, a conservative, nonpartisan government watchdog group, based on a document it obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) through the Freedom of Information Act and distributed to media.
In the Intelligence Information Report dated September 27, 2001, the DIA says al Qaeda planned to hijack a plane leaving Frankfurt International Airport sometime between March and August 2000. Advanced warning of that plot "was disregarded because nobody believed that (Osama) bin Laden or the Taliban could carry out such an operation," the report said.
The plot was eventually delayed after one of the participants withdrew from the plot.
By Barbara Starr
The U.S. intelligence community is monitoring a specific stream of classified information suggesting the terror group believed to be behind the Nairobi shopping mall attack may be planning new attacks in East Africa, particularly in Kenya, CNN has learned.
Two U.S. officials said the information does not include details of a target or date. But it is the first detailed indication that they may have information to validate threats made by Somali-based al-Shabaab that more attacks were planned after the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
"We are concerned," one official said.
"There are data points that worry us. Our intelligence is focused on how do we prevent any more attacks," the other official said.