NSA leaker Edward Snowden is no "patriot," according to President Barack Obama.
Speaking at a Friday press conference, the president argued that he was already in the process of reviewing his administration's surveillance programs when the leaked classified information sparked an intense privacy debate.
"No, I don't think Mr. Snowden is a patriot," Obama said. "I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks. My preference, and I think the American people's preference, would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws."
And while he made it clear the NSA's surveillance efforts will continue, the president promised to push for greater oversight relating to the programs.
US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 9, 2013. Obama said regional Al-Qaeda networks still pose threat. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Obama said information about the NSA's surveillance programs has come out in "dribs and drabs" because of Snowden's leaks. Some of the information has been inaccurate, he claimed.
"The fact is, that Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If, in fact, he believes that what he did was right, then like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before a court with a lawyer and make his case," Obama added. "If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provide whistleblower protection to the intelligence community for the first time."
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