NSA surveillance: Europe urges U.S. to stop high-level spying

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - On Monday, U.S. Ambassador James Costos was summoned in Madrid to explain to the Spanish government about reports of U.S. spying there.

He was greeted by shouting reporters and protestors with signs reading: “The U.S. spits on us and steals from us.”

This took place as European officials arrived in Washington to warn the U.S. to stop the high-level spying or risk top trade deals. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had to go on the defensive with reporters at the Pentagon and doge questions about when exactly he learned of the spying.

“We have great respect for our partners, our allies who cooperate with us, and we cooperate with them to try to keep the world safe," he said.

The White House is trying to manage the public's reaction to what President Obama knew and exactly when he knew it. Administration officials gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, insisting:

“The National Security Agency ended its program of spying on heads of state after an internal Obama Administration review."

They say this review was ordered by the President himself in the wake of leaks by Edward Snowden, and that it was only a result of this review that the President learned that 35 world leaders were being monitored by the NSA.

But White House officials also continue to insist that U.S. spying is simply keeping up with changing technology.

"If we are going to keep our citizens and our allies safe, we have to stay ahead of these changes. And that's what our intelligence community has been doing," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.