'US defends spying before UN rights panel' [Danny Schechter @ PressTV]

The United States has defended its worldwide spying operations before a UN watchdog body amid a sweeping review of Washington's record on civil and political rights.

A senior official of the US Justice Department said the surveillance program is legal according to the law of the United States. Bruce Swartz claimed the intelligence collection activities are only being conducted for counter-intelligence purposes. During the session of the UN Human Rights Committee, experts repeatedly quizzed Washington's delegation about the scale and scope of the spying. The chairman and other members of the UN committee raised serious concerns about the United States' global surveillance program. Washington has faced scandals over the National Security Agency's online and telephone surveillance since fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle last year.

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