Obama Blasts Media 'Hype' Over Secret Program, Calling Them 'Modest Encroachments On Privacy'

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama pushed back on what he called “hype” over reports detailing broad government surveillance, saying “modest encroachments on privacy” were necessary tradeoffs for security. 

“Some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so,” Obama said. “… Nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls.”

Obama was addressing a pair of reports detailing programs in which the National Security Agency has collected data from millions of Americans’ phone records and extracted data from leading Internet companies.

Obama, like other members of his administration, defended the programs. He said that all members of Congress have been briefed on them.

He also said he welcomed a debate over national security and civil liberties that has already begun to stem from the programs. Obama said it was “good” that those both on the left and right were questioning the programs.

“If you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance,” Obama said. 

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