POLITICS
11/01/2013 10:00 am ET | Updated Nov 01, 2013

John Kerry: NSA Spying Has 'Reached Too Far,' Was Happening 'On Autopilot'

Secretary of State John Kerry admitted Thursday that the NSA's surveillance programs have gone "too far" -- so much so that actions were occurring without knowledge from the Obama administration.

Speaking via a video conference in London, Kerry acknowledged that reviews and changes were in order for the much-maligned agency.

"The president and I have learned of some things that have been happening in many ways on an automatic pilot, because the technology is there and the ability is there," he said, according to the Guardian.

Kerry's "on autopilot" comment comes amid a week of reports of the U.S. denying or scaling back spying on several world entities. On Tuesday, Reuters learned that President Barack Obama recently ordered the NSA to stop monitoring United Nations headquarters, citing an anonymous U.S. official. On Thursday, a similar Reuters report emerged on Obama curbing spying on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank headquarters.

Beginning this weekend, Kerry will embark upon a nine-day trip to parts of Europe and the Middle East, where he will look to play damage control on several key issues outside of NSA surveillance -- including the crisis in Syria, nuclear negotiations with Iran and aid to Egypt.

"The secretary overall believes that rolling up his sleeves and having personal diplomacy is the way that we should continue to approach either issues we work together on, global challenges, or issues where there may be concerns as it relates to the intel-gathering reports," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the Associated Press.

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