In US, British FM defends spying on people

In US, British FM defends spying on people
Wed Jun 26, 2013 08:08:07

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says spying is essential to protecting people's freedoms, but it must be done within the law.

In barely-disguised comments about the furor surrounding fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, Hague stressed the importance of intelligence sharing between Britain and the United States.

"We should have nothing but pride in the unique and indispensable intelligence-sharing relationship between Britain and the United States," he said in a speech in California on Tuesday.

"In recent weeks this has been a subject of some discussion. Let us be clear about it. In both our countries intelligence work takes place within a strong legal framework.”

"We operate under the rule of law and are accountable for it. In some countries secret intelligence is used to control their people -- in ours, it only exists to protect their freedoms," he added.

Hague was speaking at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, just north of Los Angeles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Snowden was still in a Moscow airport transit zone, rejecting calls for his extradition to the United States.

The announcement ended two days of guessing at the location of Snowden, who leaked revelations of massive US surveillance programs to the media and is now wanted on espionage charges by US authorities.