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Level 3 says Global Crossing deal with U.S. did not allow for snooping

(Reuters) - Fiber optic network provider Level 3 Communications Inc said a 2003 network security agreement signed by its unit Global Crossing did not include any provision for unauthorized surveillance by U.S. government agencies.

The Washington Post reported last week that the deal allowed Team Telecom, a collection of U.S. government agencies, to access data transferred through Global Crossing's fiber-optic backbone that connects several countries. (http://link.reuters.com/daw59t)

Level 3 said on Thursday that the 2003 deal was superseded by a new agreement that it had reached with Team Telecom in 2011, when it acquired Global Crossing.

"There is no provision in the terminated or existing network security agreement that permits the U.S. government to compel Level 3, or require Level 3 in any way, to cooperate in unauthorized surveillance on U.S. or foreign soil," the company said.

It said the agreement does require it to comply with "lawful U.S. process," under applicable law.

The Washington Post report said the deal and others like it allowed US government agencies to seek and gain secure access to the massive amounts of data flowing through such networks.

Level 3 shares closed at $21.79 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

(Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)