(CNN) - The data surveillance programs discussed in recent media reports "help us prevent terrorist attacks, and modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration ... without looking at content" is worth doing, President Barack Obama said Friday in San Jose, California.
"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," he said. "... What the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They're not looking at people's names, and they're not looking at content, but by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify certain leads that" might help authorities disrupt potential terrorists.
(CNN) - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested - and has accepted - the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in the wake of its handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
The "misconduct" detailed in a report about the IRS response to those requests is "inexcusable," he said.
(CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he has ordered an investigation of any criminal wrongdoing in the IRS targeting of conservative groups.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama is "a strong believer in the First Amendment" and also "recognizes the need for the Justice Department to investigate alleged criminal activity," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday following reports that the Justice Department secretly collected phone records from the Associated Press as part of a leak investigation.
Beyond news reports, the White House has "no knowledge" of any such attempt by the Justice Department, Carney said, adding that the White House is not involved in the agency's criminal investigations, "as those matters are handled appropriately by the Justice Department independently."
(CNN) - President Barack Obama lashed out Wednesday at those in the U.S. Senate who voted against a compromise proposal to expand background checks on firearms sales, saying those who defeated the legislation "decided it wasn't worth it."
He blamed the defeat of the deal on "the gun lobby and its allies," saying those against the legislation "willfully lied" about its provisions.
(CNN) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a proposed ban on semi-automatic guns modeled after military assault weapons, dealing another blow to the package of tougher firearms laws sought by President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre.
(CNN) - Oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court have ended after nearly two hours.
(CNN) - The Maryland General Assembly voted Friday to ban the death penalty. The vote was 82 for and 56 against.
The bill now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley's desk.
Washington (CNN) - In a meeting rife with angry and emotional exchanges, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a new ban on semiautomatic firearms modeled after military assault weapons.
The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration as part of a package of gun measures prompted by a Connecticut school massacre last December that killed 20 first graders.FULL STORY
(CNN) - President Barack Obama intends to nominate longtime diplomat Deborah K. Jones to become U.S. ambassador to Libya, the White House announced Wednesday.
That post was last held by Christopher Stevens, who was among four Americans killed in an attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in September.FULL STORY