“You can’t have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy”

Key quotes from the president's defense of his government's secret surveillance program

Topics:

"You can't have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy"U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the National Security Agency's secret collection of telephone records from millions of Americans during a visit to San Jose, California June 7, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

During a press conference Friday to address the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California, President Obama fielded questions for the first time since news broke of his classified surveillance program. Here are some of his key quotes, courtesy of Slate’s Josh Voorhees:

* “The programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press are secret in the sense that they are classified but they are not secret in the sense that when it comes to phone calls every member of Congress has been briefed on this program. With respect to all these programs the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs. These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006. So I think it’s important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed about exactly what we’re doing.”

“When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about. … What the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers, and durations of calls; they are not looking at people’s names and they’re not looking at content. … If the intelligence committee actually wants to listen to a phone call they have to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation.”

“With respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States.”

“One of the things we’re going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy. Because there are some trade-offs involved. I welcome this debate, and I think it’s healthy for our democracy.”

“You can’t have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

“I don’t welcome leaks. There’s a reason why these programs are classified.”

Jacob Sugarman is Salon's cover editor and the editor of Open Salon. You can follow him on twitter @jakesugarman.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>