The Hill

By Julian Pecquet and Justin Sink – 10/28/13 08:35 PM ET

The White House on Monday defended the National Security Agency amid criticism from world leaders over its surveillance efforts.

The Obama administration’s already politically awkward dilemma became more challenging when a top Democratic ally slammed the latest allegations of spying on world leaders.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a staunch NSA supporter, said Monday that she “totally opposed” spying on U.S. allies. She called for a “total review” of intelligence gathering.

Meanwhile, nine European parliamentarians arrived in Washington, D.C., to investigate the latest revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

These include claims that the agency tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone and monitored the communications of tens of millions of French and Spanish citizens.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the NSA’s work “saves lives.”

“If we’re going to keep our citizens and our allies safe, we have to continue to stay ahead of these changes, and that’s what our intelligence community has been doing extraordinarily well,” Carney said.

But there’s evidence the controversy is wearing on the White House both at home and abroad.

Foreign governments that have been subjected to U.S. spying have launched at least three separate efforts aimed at curtailing the practice.

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