Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is unphased by news reports from European nations which accuse the United States of spying on foreign dignitaries in addition to millions of other people in countries like Spain, Germany and France. Grassley says our intelligence-gathering operatives, like those in the National Security Agency, are simply doing their jobs.

Grassley says, “What we’re up to here is trying to make sure that we keep on top of any effort anyplace in the world to repeat what happened on Nine Eleven.” Agencies like the NSA, Grassley says, are in the spy business, and they’ll launch surveillance initiatives on friends and enemies alike. Grassley suggests it’s likely easier for the N-S-A to find ways to monitor so many conversations because a vast majority of international calls are routed through communications hubs located in the U.S.

He notes, the NSA claims its techniques have led to the thwarting of “a few dozen” terrorist attacks in recent years. “Some of that information comes from overseas, some of it comes domestically,” Grassley says, “but we have a responsibility to get all of the information we can because the number-one responsibility of the federal government is to protect our people.”

A news report from Spain alleges the American NSA monitored more than 60-million telephone calls in Spain during the span of a single month. Grassley says, “Our constitution doesn’t protect anybody in that country unless they’re U.S. citizens, then they would come under our constitution, but we can listen to foreign conversations.” Reports from a French newspaper accuse the U.S. of spying not only on Europeans, but on leaders in Brazil and Mexico.