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Iran Press TV

Obama does not feel NSA violated people’s privacy: US chief of staff

Iran Press TV

Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:15AM GMT

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says United States President Barack Obama does not believe that surveillance of phone records and Internet data by National Security Agency (NSA) has violated the US people’s privacy rights.

McDonough made the remarks on a television talk show on Sunday.

In an answer to the question about whether Obama feels his administration has violated the people’s rights to privacy, McDonough replied, "He does not."

"Authorized by Congress, overseen by Congress, briefed aggressively to every member of Congress, subjected to regular oversight from independent courts... what does that tell you? That tells you that all three branches of government, to include aggressive internal checks inside the administration, from inspectors-general and routine audits, is overseeing how we do these programmers. I think that the American people can feel confident that we have those three branches looking at it," McDonough said.

Meanwhile, US Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, criticized the move on a different TV show, saying, "I just don't think this is an American approach to a world in which we have great threats. My number one goal is to protect the American people, but we can do it in a way that also respects our civil liberties."

On June 6, the Guardian revealed that a top secret US court order allows the NSA to collect data on millions of Americans who are customers of the major US phone company, Verizon.

According to the order, Verizon should “on a daily basis” give the NSA data, including phone numbers, location, and duration of all phone calls in its systems, both in the US and between the US and other countries.

On the same day, The Washington Post also reported that the NSA had direct access to Internet servers, saying their source, a career intelligence officer, was horrified of the capabilities of the systems used by the top US spy agency.

On Friday, the social networking website Facebook also said it received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for user data from US government entities in the last six months of 2012.

The new revelation comes as the administration of US President Barack Obama has already come under fire for secretly obtaining the phone records of the Associated Press journalists as well as the emails and phone records of a Fox News Channel reporter.


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