Obama: 'Nobody Is Listening to Your Phone Calls'
President defends the government's surveillance programs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2013 11:59 AM CDT
President Obama speaks in San Jose Friday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – President Obama tried to defuse the growing surveillance controversies during a speech in San Jose today, reiterating that anything the government does is limited in scope and necessary to keep the country safe, reports the Washington Post. (Pretty much the argument that the New York Times bashed him about.) He added that he came to office with a "healthy skepticism" of the programs but is now on board with the safeguards in place. Some highlights:

  • "Nobody is listening to your phone calls."
  • "I know that the people involved in these programs operate like professionals," he said. They are “looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they are not looking at content.”
  • In the same vein, he said the government isn't reading your email. The Internet surveillance program “does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people living in the US.”
  • "You can't have 100% security and then also have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices."
  • Obama also criticized the leaks that have led to the recent spate of stories. "There's a reason why these programs are classified."