US surveillance: 'It's going to take some time' to win back confidence - Obama
31 January 2014, 16:39
In an interview with CNN US President Barack Obama acknowledged that the country's surveillance programs damaged the confidence of Americans as well as other nations. 'It's going to take some time' to win back that confidence, he said.
'It's going to take some work, partly because the technology has just moved so quickly that discussions that needed to be had didn't happen fast enough,' Obama explained.
Obama also commented on National Intelligence Director James Clapper who had not been honest in his testimony before Congress last year about the mass surveillance programs:
'I think that Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded.'
'His concern was that he had a classified program that he couldn't talk about, and he was in an open hearing in which he was asked, he was prompted to disclose a program, and so he felt he was caught between a rock and a hard place,' Obama added.
US spy chief calls on Snowden to give back NSA documents
Leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have damaged America's national security and he should return the secret documents he has 'stolen,' the US spy chief said Wednesday. Snowden's disclosures since June have revealed the National Security Agency's vast electronic eavesdropping operations, sparking global outrage and prompting calls in Congress to curtail the NSA's powers.
But James Clapper, director of national intelligence, delivered a scathing condemnation of Snowden at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying his leaks have aided America's adversaries and undermined cooperation with foreign partners.
'What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way, way beyond his professed concerns with so-called domestic surveillance programs,' Clapper said.
'As a result, we've lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources, including some shared with us by valued partners.'
Clapper called on Snowden and his 'accomplices' to return the classified documents that he took with him as the former NSA contractor has declared victory.
Snowden, who has secured asylum in Russia and faces espionage charges from US authorities, has said he passed on the NSA classified files to journalists and no longer has them in his possession.
The intelligence chief previously has acknowledged that the leaks have generated a useful debate about how to balance security with privacy rights.
Voice of Russia, CNN, AFP
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