US Secretary of State John Kerry has issued a rare mea culpa on behalf of the US government and its NSA surveillance platforms.
Speaking at a panel discussion for the Open Government Partnership, Kerry said that in its efforts to thwart terrorists, the US had gone "too far" in its collection of personal data, but insisted that reports of massive data hoarding were untrue.
"I assure you, innocent people are not being abused in this process," Kerry said, "but there is an effort to gather information, and yes, in some cases it has reached too far, inappropriately."
"Our President is determined to clarify and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have a sense of abuse."
Sentiment of such a "sense of abuse" has been rampant among both the domestic and international communities in recent days.
Earlier this week, a number of major providers, including Google and Yahoo, were found to have unwittingly supplied the government with some 180 million records via NSA surveillance programs.
The disclosure adds to an already hefty government data repository first uncovered with the revelation of the PRISM platform by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the now-infamous consultant living under asylum in Russia.
Further reports from the international community have suggested that the spying activities have also extended to the diplomatic arena, as reports out of Germany indicated that US agents may have tapped lines of communication used by government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Even when fessing up to the use of heavy-handed tactics, Kerry remained defiant on the most recent reports, denying that tens of millions of people were having their data slurped through the NSA pipeline.
"There is a tremendous amount of exaggeration and misreporting in some of what is out there," he said.
"What we are trying to do is, in a random way, find ways of trying to learn if in fact there is a threat that we need to respond to." ®