Bush defends his surveillance program: "Civil liberties were guaranteed"

"I put that program in place to protect the country," he said of the NSA's surveillance program

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 1, 2013 1:08PM (EDT)

Former President George W. Bush defended the NSA surveillance program that collects phone and Internet data on American citizens, arguing that when he implemented the program, "civil liberties were guaranteed."

Bush was speaking with CNN in an interview from Zambia, and said that there "needs to be a balance" between privacy and security, "and as the president explained, there is a proper balance."

Bush was asked about the NSA's phone and Internet surveillance program specifically, and replied: "I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed."

He also commented on Edward Snowden, who first leaked information on the program to the press. "I think he damaged the security of the country," Bush said.


Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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Civil Liberties George W. Bush Nsa Prism Surveillance Video