WH: Obama not violating privacy; Snowden's whereabouts unknown
June 16th, 2013
04:28 PM ET
10 years ago

WH: Obama not violating privacy; Snowden's whereabouts unknown

(CNN) – President Barack Obama does not feel that he has violated the privacy of any American, his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, confirmed Sunday.

Asked directly if Obama feels that way regarding the government's controversial surveillance programs, McDonough said simply, "He does not."

During his interview on CBS' "Face the Nation," McDonough added the president plans to "talk about this in the days ahead."

McDonough said the president will discuss the need to "find the right balance, especially in this new situation where we find ourselves with all of us reliant on Internet, on e-mail, on texting."

Shortly after the National Security Agency programs were leaked earlier this month, Obama publicly defended the operations that involve storing phone records and collecting information from Internet companies. Obama called them "modest encroachments on privacy" that help prevent terrorist attacks.

McDonough declined to wade into the debate over whether Edward Snowden–the former contractor who leaked the NSA information–is a hero or a traitor. But the White House chief of staff confirmed that he does not know where Snowden went after he checked out of his Hong Kong hotel on Monday.

"I'm sure you'll understand when I tell you I don't want to get involved in any ongoing investigation or any kind of effort that's being undertaken, but I can tell you that I don't know where he is right now."

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Denis McDonough • NSA • President Obama • White House
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This president never violates any laws–he knows the laws precisely just like me. True. I have confidence.

    June 16, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. earthworx

    My guess would be that he is in the custody of the Chinese government being questioned about the efficacy of the NSA's surveillance capabilities.

    June 16, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. Earl of Mar

    These statements from the Government are a test, right? A test of the gullibility of the American People?

    June 16, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Ed

    Perhaps the White House should get some villainous pirates to look for him.

    June 16, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  5. systop

    US govt are always blaming China, Russia and others on hacking their network, however, its the same thing NSA is doing. So don't pretend to be innocent on cyber-attack and play double standards to the world. Hypocritical Americans

    June 16, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. Broton

    Let's wait, because this will be a new face for China . . . A Communist country will take side for Democracy if it will grant asylum to a "Free Speech Activist" like Snowden.

    June 16, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Ed1

    If anybody but Obama leaked information they would be hunted down and put in jail.

    Obama continues to get a free ride from the press and many other people I once thought were smart not anymore.

    Obama has down more damage to this Country than any other President before him.

    June 16, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. enuff

    If Snowden really feels like he did the right thing, then why isn't he being a grown up and facing it head on? Running and hiding in another country is not helping his credibility as to why he did it.

    June 16, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. The people

    I hope he leaks 9/11 and ET life.

    June 16, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  10. Data Driven

    Clearly, someone's helping Snowden hide out. The interesting question: who? What happens to that person(s)? What if he/she is a Chinese national - then what?

    June 16, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. just sayin

    Obama called them "modest encroachments on privacy" that help prevent terrorist attacks.

    well, if vacuuming up every piece of electronic communication in the country is a modest encroachment i guess that means we need to have webster redefine the word modest and the word encroachment. and this from a guy that supposedly a professor that taught constitutional law. scary, very scary.

    June 16, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. just askin

    obama doesn't know where snowden is but rest assured he will personally search every golf course until he finds him.

    June 16, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  13. smdahl

    They won't "know" where he is until the whitehouse decides how to silence him...these strategic decisions take time!

    June 16, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  14. Zakuska

    Whistle-blowers should be applauded not vilified. If we had whistle-blowers in Germany 70 years ago, we wouldn't have had the Holocaust. Snowden is a hero.

    June 17, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  15. Thomas

    Putin: I did not steal Super Bowl ring

    June 17, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  16. Name willard

    I am strong belived that presdient obama are too lots problems for 5 year so why obama team are lot leave with his cabient team
    I ask mc donough that I want question what about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    June 17, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  17. Bobby Q

    No one knows where he's at and no one ever will probably NDAA 2012, or maybe Extraordinary Rendition any bets?

    June 17, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  18. boy_wonder

    Whereabouts unknown?? what happen to the CIA? oh i forgot his a CIA..

    June 17, 2013 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  19. ken2

    Blame the Chinese, Blame the Chinese, Blame the Chinese.....will it works again ?

    June 17, 2013 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  20. Tracy C

    I would rather be less safe than less free.

    June 17, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  21. richwood

    Well of course he hasn;t. There is not a sane organic intelligent life form on this planet or from this Universe that thinks so. Only the right wing thinks so. Which would rather have NSA knocking on the door and saying ::Sorry our mistake," or an Islamic terrorist saying "Welcome to Allah!" Give me NSA any day of the week. and blowing up you and your children?

    I suggested this a long time ago and I still think it needs repeating..If you think Islam has the right to kill you PLEASE mark your door, the rest of us trust the USA

    June 17, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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