Obama: Not listening to calls, safeguards in place - New York News

Obama: Not listening to calls, safeguards in place

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is defending his government's secret surveillance, saying Congress has repeatedly authorized the collection of America's phone records and U.S. internet use.

 
In his first comments since the programs were publicly revealed this week, Obama says safeguards are in place. He says nobody is listening to the content of phone calls. And he says the internet targeting is aimed at foreign nationals, not American citizens.  
 
Obama says he increased some of the "safeguards" on the programs after taking office. And he believes they help his administration stop terrorist attacks.

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The Obama administration found itself defending yet another surveillance effort late Thursday after leaked documents revealed information about two secret National Security Agency intelligence-gathering programs.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday called the disclosure of a program that allows the NSA to collect communications data from Internet companies "reprehensible" and said the phone-records monitoring leak could cause harm to the nation's intelligence gathering activities.

Clapper said The Guardian newspaper's disclosure Wednesday of the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of Verizon customers in the U.S. "threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation."

"The article omits key information regarding how a classified intelligence collection program is used to prevent terrorist attacks and the numerous safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties.

"I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use. In order to provide a more thorough understanding of the program, I have directed that certain information related to the "business records" provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act be declassified and immediately released to the public."

Read more at FOXNews.com: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/07/intelligence-officials-reportedly-mining-data-from-us-internet-companies/#ixzz2VWk8vbUe

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