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NY Times editor: Obama has 'gone farther' than Bush in secrecy

US President Barack Obama chats with host Jay Leno during a taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at NBC Studios on August 6, 2013 in Burbank, California. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times opinion page editor, sounds off on President Obama's comments on the Tonight Show Tuesday about national security:

[W]hen the conversation turned to more serious matters, like Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency and domestic surveillance, Mr. Obama’s comments were disingenuous at best and perhaps even deliberately misleading. ...

I agree with Mr. Obama that Mr. Snowden’s leaks were illegal, but they served a public good. The president said – again, disingenuously — that Mr. Snowden could have followed whistleblower procedures if he thought the law was being broken or government powers were being abused. Since Mr. Obama’s lawyers secretly declared that neither is the case, and got secret approval from a secret court for their position, any complaint Mr. Snowden had made would obviously have been dismissed out of hand.

Mr. Obama has not just adopted the excessive secrecy of the Bush administration — and its over-reaching on domestic surveillance in the name of counter-terrorism — he has actually gone farther. It makes for poor Tonight Show comedy.

Obama said on the show that he didn't want to "prejudge" Snowden, but did say he broke the law in leaking government surveillance intelligence to the news media.


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