Zev Porat

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Obama to Leno: 'We Don't Have a Domestic Spying Program'

Making his sixth appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Tuesday, President Barack Obama took on serious subjects with the late night funnyman.
He defended the National Security Agency's work, expressed disappointment that Russia has granted temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden and broke his silence on the closing of 22 American embassies in the wake of terrorist threats.
"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said. "What we do have are some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat. That information is useful."
Obama said the public's skepticism of the program is good, adding that he was skeptical himself when he came into office. He said he had the programs reviewed and added additional safeguards to protect Americans' privacy.
Obama declined to say whether he thinks Snowden is a whistleblower, saying he shouldn't "prejudge" him. He said he hopes to see him brought back to America to face a fair trial.
But he did say there are avenues for people in his position to bring concerns forward "without breaking the law," which he said Snowden may have done the allegations are true.
"That is a huge problem," Obama said, because America's spy program depends on terrorists not knowing how the U.S. can know what they are doing.

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