NSA chief says phone records were swept up as part of a NATO defense program, not NSA spying

The director of the National Security Agency says millions of telephone phone records of European citizens were swept up as part of a NATO program to protect the alliance's member nations and military operations.

Gen. Keith Alexander told a House Intelligence panel Tuesday that the U.S. did not collect the European records alone, as was reported over the last week to an outcry of criticism across Europe.

Alexander said NSA slides of the phone programs outlined intelligence that the U.S. was given from NATO partners.

He also disputed that the program targeted European citizens, but did not offer specifics.

The U.S. has been under fire over the last week over reports of intrusive spying on European citizens. Alexander denied those report.