Obama Talks NSA on 'Charlie Rose': Americans 'Not Getting the Complete Story'

Obama White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech - H 2013
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In a 45-minute interview on PBS, the president says he has asked the intelligence committee to see how much information can be declassified “without further compromising the program.”

President Obama has spoken out regarding recently leaked information about two top-secret government surveillance programs during a 45-minute interview on PBS’ Charlie Rose.

The POTUS’ interview was filmed Sunday and aired Monday night, addressing the National Security Agency controversy, Syria, Iran, China and hacking threats.

Obama called the controversial, big brother-like surveillance programs “transparent,” maintaining that the programs were not at risk of being abused by government officials. He said that the public’s concern was due in large part to the fact that “they’re not getting the complete story.”

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“What I’ve asked the intelligence committee to do about this is to see how much of this we can declassify without further compromising the program,” he said, adding that "they are in the process of doing so now.”

Obama said that “this debate has gotten cloudy very quickly,” but assured the public that citizens of the United States could not have their phone calls, text messages or emails targeted without officials obtaining a warrant. “The same way it’s always been,”  he said.

“What I want to do is set up and structure a national conversation, not only about these two programs, but also about the general problems of these big data sets,” he added. “Because this is not going to be restricted to government agencies.”

PBS has posted full video of the interview online. Watch it here.