President Barack Obama defended the NSA surveillance program in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo this morning.
On the NSA surveillance program, Cuomo asked, "Are you confident that you know everything that's going on within that agency and that you can say to the American people, 'It's all done the right way'?"
"Yes, but what I've also said is that it can only work if the American people trust what's going on. And what's been clear since the disclosures that were made by Mr. Snowden is that people don't have enough information and aren't confident enough that, between all the safeguards and checks that we put in place within the executive branch, and the federal court oversight that takes place on the program, and congressional oversight, people are still concerned as to whether their e-mails are being read or their phone calls are being listened to," Obama responded.
CUOMO: Especially when they hear that they are and mistakes are made. You know, it shakes your confidence.
OBAMA: Well -- yeah, but I think it's important -- for example, this latest revelation that was made, what was learned was that NSA had inadvertently, accidentally pulled the e-mails of some Americans in violation of their own rules, because of technical problems that they didn't realize. They presented those problems to the court. The court said, "This isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to improve the safeguards, given these technical problems." That's exactly what happened. So the point is, is that all these safeguards, checks, audits, oversight worked.
Now, I think there are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick that, you know, at some point, does the technology outpace the laws that are in place and the protections that are in place? And does some of these systems -- do some of these systems end up being like a loaded gun out there that somebody at some future point could abuse? Because there are no allegations, and I am very confident -- knowing the NSA and how they operate -- that purposefully somebody is out there trying to abuse this program or listen in on people's e-mail -- or...
CUOMO: You're confident in that?
OBAMA: I am confident in that. But what I recognize is that we're going to have to continue to improve the safeguards and, as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies that give people more assurance, and we do have to do a better job of giving people confidence in how these programs work.