Obama: Snowden is not a patriot

In a press conference today, the president tries to win back Americans' trust, says the leaker is no proud American

Topics: Barack Obama, Edward Snowden, National Security Agency, Privacy, Editor's Picks,

Obama: Snowden is not a patriot (Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster)

At a press conference this afternoon, President Obama announced that he’s taking a series of steps to restore Americans’ trust in the U.S. intelligence community and safeguard their privacy. But his agenda may have been obscured when he was asked if he thought NSA leaker Edward Snowden was a patriot. Obama replied, “No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot.”

Speaking from the podium in the White House press briefing room, the president laid out four policy reforms to “increase transparency and restore public trust:

1) New restrictions on section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. The White House released a lengthy white paper detailing its view of what Obama called “appropriate reforms” to the controversial provision of the controversial law, which allows the government to collect business records in search of terrorists and forms the basis of the administration’s telephone metadata collection program.

2) Efforts to improve public confidence in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the top secret court that approves wiretaps and other electronic snooping. Obama said the government would find ways for civil liberties concerns to be heard at the court and even suggested that, in some cases, an advocate might be present to argue against the government’s request for a warrant. It’s something civil libertarians have long had on their wish list.



3) The NSA will soon have a full-time privacy officer, who will be charged with safeguarding and advocating for privacy and transparency. The intelligence community will also create a website where information can be found and concerns addressed.

4) Obama will appoint a group of outside experts, including civil libertarians, who will review the entire intelligence and communications approach to see where privacy can be better protected and what can be done to make things more transparent.

Whether the reforms will do much of anything, or be little more than lip service to concerns, remains to be seen.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...