A top US intelligence official has said the inputs collected about terror financing have saved lives and the US doesn't gather trade secrets of other nations.
"Our collection of information regarding terrorist financing saves lives. Since 9/11, the intelligence community has found success in disrupting terror networks by following their money as it moves around the globe," director of national intelligence, James R Clapper, said.
"International criminal organisations, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, illicit arms dealers, or nations that attempt to avoid international sanctions can also be targeted in an effort to aid America's and our allies' interests," he said.
"What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of, or give intelligence we collect, to US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line," Clapper said.
It is no secret that the intelligence community collects information about economic and financial matters and terrorist financing, he said.
"We collect this information for many important reasons. For one, it could provide the US and our allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy," Clapper added.
"It also could provide insight into other countries' economic policy or behaviour which could affect global markets," he said.
The US collects foreign intelligence, just as many other governments do, to enhance the security of its citizens and protect interests and those of allies around the world.
"The intelligence community's efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities is critical to providing policy makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security," Clapper said.