Hillary backs debate after NSA leaks
Hillary Clinton has called for a "sensible adult conversation", to be held in a transparent way, about the boundaries of state surveillance highlighted by the leaking of secret NSA files by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a boost to Nick Clegg, the British deputy prime minister, who is planning to start conversations within government about the oversight of Britain's intelligence agencies, the former US secretary of state said it would be wrong to shut down a debate.
Hillary, who is seen as a frontrunner for the 2016 US presidential election, said at Chatham House in London: "This is a very important question. On the intelligence issue, we are democracies thank goodness, both the US and the UK.
"We need to have a sensible adult conversation about what is necessary to be done, and how to do it, in a way that is as transparent as it can be, with as much oversight and citizens' understanding as there can be."
UK's leading daily The Guardian has been facing a government backlash over publishing articles based on the leaked documents.
In her remarks, Hillary did not comment on the UK's oversight arrangements. But she indicated she was wholly supportive of the approach adopted by Barack Obama who – in contrast to Downing Street – has said he welcomes a debate on surveillance in the wake of the NSA leaks.
Answering a question from the Guardian at Chatham House, she said the discussion had to take place within a framework that addressed issues of privacy and protection of citizens because some surveillance programmes remained a "really critical ingredient in our homeland security."
"So how do we sort all of this out? This is a problem that is well over a decade old, where these capacities have corresponded with increasing outreach to consumers on the business side and increasing concern about security on the government side. People need to be better informed," she added.