President Obama today defended the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ telephone and Internet records, asserting that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”
Obama, who spoke during at event in San Jose, California, said security officials “are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content,” but rather at phone numbers and the duration and frequency of calls.
Obama said the Internet data mining was targeted at foreign nationals, not Americans.
The president charged there was “hype” about the issue and assured listeners that those who conduct the surveillance can be trusted. He noted that both the Congress and the judiciary are overseeing the program, saying it would be a “problem” if people couldn’t trust any of the branches of government.
Obama said there has to be a balance between security and privacy: “I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”