His comments come after outrage in Europe over the NSA's monitoring of public figures, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's a good thing. It keeps the French safe. It keeps the U.S. safe. It keeps our European allies safe. This whole notion that we're going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation-state interests I think is disingenuous."
Rogers also said that European countries could be spying on the United States, as well, but that the angered leaders might not know.
"They don't have necessarily the same type of oversight of their intelligence services that we do," he said. "I think they need to have a better oversight structure in Europe. I think they would be enlightened to find out what their intelligence services may or may not be doing."
He also said that the NSA's actions are necessary to keep the country--and the world--safe.
"In the 1930s, we had this debate before," he said. "And so we say, well, we're not going to do any of those kinds of things, that would not be appropriate. Look what happened in the '30s, the rise of fascism, the rise of communism, the rise of imperialism ... and it resulted in the death of, really, tens of millions of people."