Clinton's comments came Friday during a question-and-answer session at Chatham House in London, where she was awarded the 2013 Chatham House Prize "in recognition of her significant and impressive contribution to international diplomacy as US Secretary of State and her work on behalf of gender equality and opportunities for women and girls," The Guardian reported.
Clinton noted that the United States and the United Kingdom "are democracies, thank goodness."
"We need to have a sensible adult conversation about what is necessary to be done, and how to do it, in a way that is as transparent as it can be, with as much oversight and citizens' understanding as there can be," she said.
Clinton, who is reported to be considering a bid for the 2016 presidential election, said discussions on NSA surveillance need to address issues of privacy and protection of citizens, but are a "really critical ingredient in our homeland security."
"It would be going down a wrong path if we were to reject the importance of the debate, and the kinds of intelligence activities that genuinely keep us safe," Clinton said. "So how do we sort all of this out? This is a problem that is well over a decade old, where these capacities have corresponded with increasing outreach to consumers on the business side and increasing concern about security on the government side. People need to be better informed."