WH: Obama not violating privacy; Snowden's whereabouts unknown
June 16th, 2013
04:28 PM ET
8 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. joe baublis

    Hogwash. If comrad Obamski wants to spy on people and then blame it on terrorists, he should provide a nation-wide referendum vote to amend the constitution's bill of rights which protects everyone's right to be secure in their papers. If Obamski doesn't like the constitution then he should not have sworn an oath to defend it when he was offered the office of the president. Anything short of this is merely a poorly executed fraud on the People of this nation.

    June 16, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. jacqueartist

    you mean our vaunted intelligence agencies have no idea where Snowden is?

    June 16, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Rs1201

    Of course...Obama doesn't feel guilty about anything....he's perfect!

    June 16, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. are122

    I just saw him and Elvis in a biker leather place.

    June 16, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Jo Black

    Try China.

    June 16, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. frank landa

    I see your lips moving but all I hear is lie lie lie. You know nothing about anything so why should you be in charge. You were asleep for the Ben Ghazi killing of Americans and in the dark as to why even though Petraus told you it was terrorists you claimed it was a movie. You know nothing about IRS targeting of YOUR political opposition so who is in charge.

    June 16, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Thurgood

    "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."

    Right. He just wants to save his energy to sit around and personally pick out people to assassinate with drones.

    June 16, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. us_1776

    Obama, find your backbone man and do what you said you would do.

    Repeal the unconstitutional and unpatriotic Patriot Act.

    Close down Guantanamo Bay a symbol of torture around the world.


    June 16, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. snotfair

    Fed Bugs- not to be confused w/ Bed Bugs- are necessary to weed out the bad seeds. A more concise system is needed to hone in on the lawless lizards instead of the 'throw everything @ the wall & eventually something will stick' method. As for the whereabouts of Snowden- he may be snowed-in somewhere! Let justice prevail somehow & soon.

    June 16, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Jimbob

    Snowden, a right wing hero, is probably working for the Chinese now.

    June 16, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Name

    God love for us is unconditonal jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no man come to the father except by me. Jesus I came to save that which was lost.

    June 16, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Name

    Land of the free??????

    June 16, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. ted theodore logan

    CNN = Government Propaganda
    A Mouthpiece for Warmongers.

    June 16, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. dfromlv

    Obama called them "modest encroachments on privacy"...maybe if they didn't save the data forever. The NSA needs to get reeled in again.

    June 16, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. MoeL

    NSA and PRISM must go...unethical on many different levels. As for the secret court, who in their right mind would sanction this? All of this, NSA, PRISM,secret courts, are targeting Americans. Wake up call to all Americans. This is just not right no matter what light you shine on it...safety at what price?

    June 16, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. king

    hey folks everything in life is not free, one day you have to pay, the only thing i would have a problem with is the government lessening on every day Joe private conversations, if the government is piling up a bunch of phone, and internet records to keep us safe, well what the problem, that is what the phone companies does anyway. i dont here anyone shouting that the end of the world is here when the phone companies does it.

    June 16, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. Drew Palmer

    Mr. Obama swore to uphold the constitution before becominge President Obama. If he believes that security is more important than the Constitution, then it is he who is the traitor.

    June 16, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. RIPSnowden

    he's dead

    June 16, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    It is interesting the Obama comes out with news that Syria is using Chemical Weapons the day after NSA scandal hits. Obama wants to change the subject

    June 16, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. paul

    they will find that traitor and hang him

    June 16, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. to little transparancy...to much hidden to trust it

    i'm sorry. but for the govemrent to treat the United States Citizens like chidren...and consistantly withhold important imformation so they LOOK better, is dis honorable.

    There are so many things hidden to the public in fear of what we wont agree with its not even funny.

    The public would have never voted for our money to be dumped into a NSA spy program while we were losing our economy, homes, incomes, jobs, medical insurance, etc..

    Something like this if the economy is ok is one thing, but when the average american is suffereing to a point of our govmernt wont even raise minimum wage for everone when its long over due and they dump our tax payer funds into thsi "Secret program with a Secret JURY..which is Illeagle..is completely WRONG

    June 16, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. to little transparancy...to much hidden to trust it

    and i dont care what Obama Feels like..its against the 4th amendment to with hold any United States citizens priveate informaiton reguardless if its metadata phone numbers or the like..its wrong..and against the 4th unless there a search warrent..

    we have a right to know who our enemies are..we have a right to know who is accessing our information..we have a right to see where THE PEOPLES TAX MONEY IS BEING PAID INTO

    June 16, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. walks

    Any encroachment on constitutional rights, specifically, the 4th amendment, is illegal...and immoral.

    June 16, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. well

    criminals write the law of the land and call their crimes "legal" and call the whistle-blower "criminal".
    thieves own the money-printing mnachine and buy up everything worth buying with their "free" money.
    thugs on corporate payroll kill, torture, rape, and loot around the globe, all in OUR name and on OUR dime.
    WE let them do all that over and over and over, so the real SHAME is on US.

    June 16, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Guest

    and we don't know Obama's whereabouts during the Benghazi Massacre.

    June 16, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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