The agency's admission contradicts previous statements made by Obama administration officials and lawmakers that the agency's violations of spying restrictions on Americans were only unintentional, a news agency reported.

In a statement to the US media, the NSA on Friday acknowledged that very rare instances of willful violations of NSA's authorities have been found over the past decade.

"NSA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously, and cooperates fully with any investigations. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency's authorities," the agency officials said.

The agency also said that deliberate actions did not violate the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the USA Patriot Act, but instead overstepped a 1981 executive order governing US intelligence operations issued by former US President Ronald Reagan.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest reiterated President Barack Obama's assertion ON Wednesday that there was no domestic surveillance programme going on in the country. Earnest stressed that NSA's surveillance efforts were focused on foreign intelligence and domestic information was only occasionally accessed by the agency as "compliance issues" rather than systematic spying on US citizens.


Latest News from World News Desk