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.

You Might Also Like

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 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...