Kerry says U.S. gathers foreign intelligence to protect people

The U.S. gathers foreign intelligence to protect the citizens of other countries and its own, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Kerry made the remarks on Tuesday after his meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota after their meeting. Kerry responded to a question on the issue on espionage and about whether or not the U.S. would stop spying on other nations. While Kerry said he would not be able to discuss operational issues, he said U.S. intelligence gathering tactics are firmly based on law and meant to protect people around the world.

"The United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations in order to protect their citizens, in order to protect our citizens," Kerry said. "And our activities are firmly based on law and they are subject to oversight by all of the branches of our government. We are convinced that our intelligence collection has positively helped us to protect our nation from a variety of threats, not only protect our nation but protect other people in the world, including Brazilians."

Kerry said Brazil and other countries are owed answers with respect to questions about espionage and they will get them.

"We will guarantee that Brazil and other countries will understand exactly what we're doing, why and how, and we will work together to make sure that whatever is done in a way that respects our friends and our partners, and that is what we're going to achieve," Kerry said.

Kerry said the U.S. will live up to the highest standards of cooperation, transparency and accountability in keeping with its ability to protect Americans and others in the world.