"I think the president should stop apologizing, stop being defensive," King said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives -- not just in the United States, but also in France and Germany and throughout Europe."
The surveillance programs are again in the news following reports that the NSA monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone and millions of phone calls in France.
King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, suggested France and Germany shouldn't act so indignant about NSA surveillance in their countries.
"And the French are someone to talk. The fact is, they've carried out spying operations against the United States -- both the government and industry," King said. "As far as Germany, that's where the Hamburg Plot began, which led to 9/11. They've had dealings with Iran and Iraq, North Korea -- the French and the Germans, other European countries."