Capitol building
The sun rises on the US Capitol in Washington (Reuters)

Americans are "deceitful and prevaricating", and bugging allies is their "main addiction", according to the Chinese official press agency. The scathing attack followed the latest NSA snooping revelations.

News agency Xinhua likened America's intelligence gathering to the brainless job of a vacuum cleaner. The NSA was nonsensical in its approach and the US adopts double standards on political and economic issues, it said.

"In the sunlight, it preaches; in the dark, it pries. On the offensive, it orates; on the defensive, it equivocates," said Xinhua in an editorial. It added that the US had "shamelessly" attacked China for its alleged monetary manipulation while it went ahead with bigger deceit.

Calling American economic and diplomatic policies "wayward', Xinhua said the US is facing an immense backlash to its "Janus-faced" stand on global matters.

"Just as the borrowing addiction is shedding America's economic credibility, the bugging obsession is draining its political and security trustworthiness - only with potentially more destructive consequences," it said.

China has severely criticised the US over the policy deadlock in Washington which resulted in a government shutdown and nearly triggered a credit downgrade, which would have devalued China's dollar assets.

According to US Treasury Department data, China is the biggest foreign owner of US Treasuries at $1.28 trillion as of July. Besides, China also holds close to $3.5 trillion of dollar-denominated assets.

Washington's "ham-handed" approach to security is laughable inasmuch as it does more harm to national security than what terrorists can inflict, the editorial said.

"As America pins its security on alliances, the tapping tale would sour its relationship with allies - and thus erode its security bedrock - more than any terrorist would be capable of.

"What is counterintuitive in the NSA forage is its nonsensical approach: relentless and indiscriminate like a vacuum cleaner. It just bugs everybody, even its closest allies in Europe," it said.

"Uncle Sam needs to remember what happened to the tailor in the Lady Godiva story - Peeping Tom was struck blind."